Qin Zhu and Tom Williams and Ruchen Wen
Computer Ethics - Philosophical Enquiry
In the literature of artificial moral agents (AMAs), most work is influenced by either deontological or utilitarian frameworks. It has also been widely acknowledged that these Western “rule-based” ethical theories have encountered both philosophical and computing challenges. To tackle these challenges, this paper explores a non-Western, role-based, Confucian approach to robot ethics. In this paper, we start by providing a short introduction to some theoretical fundamentals of Confucian ethics. Then, we discuss some very preliminary ideas for constructing a Confucian approach to robot ethics. Lastly, we briefly share a couple of empirical studies our research group has recently conducted that aimed to incorporate insights from Confucian ethics into the design of morally competent robots. Inspired by Confucian ethics, this paper argues that to design morally competent robots is to create not only reliable and efficient human-robot interaction, but also a robot-mediated environment in which human teammates can grow their own virtues.