Tom Williams and Qin Zhu and Ruchen Wen and Ewart J. de Visser


Proceedings of the Companion of the 15th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (alt.HRI)

Publication Year

It is critical for designers of language-capable robots to enable some degree of moral competence in those robots. This is especially critical at this point in history due to the current research climate, in which much natural language generation research focuses on language modeling techniques whose general approach may be categorized as ``fabrication by imitation'' (the titular mechanical ``bull''), which is especially unsuitable in robotic contexts. Furthermore, it is critical for robot designers seeking to enable moral competence to consider previously under-explored moral frameworks that place greater emphasis than traditional Western frameworks on care, equality, and social justice, as the current sociopolitical climate has seen a rise of movements such as libertarian capitalism that have undermined those societal goals. In this paper we examine one alternate framework for the design of morally competent robots, Confucian ethics, and explore how designers may use this framework to enable morally sensitive human-robot communication through three distinct perspectives: (1) How should a robot reason? (2) What should a robot say? and (3) How should a robot act?