Ruchen Wen and Zhao Han and Tom Williams


ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction

Publication Year

Language-capable robots require moral competence, including representations and algorithms for moral reasoning and moral communication. We argue for an ethical pluralist approach to moral competence that leverages and combines disparate ethical frameworks, and specifically argue for an approach to moral competence that is grounded not only in Deontological norms (as is typical in the HRI literature) but also in Confucian relational roles. To this end, we introduce the first computational approach that centers relational roles in moral reasoning and communication, and demonstrate the ability of this approach to generate both context-oriented and role-oriented explanations for robots’ rejections of norm-violating commands, which we justify through our pluralist lens. Moreover, we provide the first investigation of how computationally generated role-based explanations are perceived by humans, and empirically demonstrate (N=120) that the effectiveness (in terms of of trust, understanding confidence, and perceived intelligence) of explanations grounded in different moral frameworks is dependent on nuanced mental modeling of human interlocutors.