Informatik, TU Wien

Do You Want a Robot Lover?

The Ethics of Caring Technologies


Do You Want a Robot Lover? You might perhaps think that you do and that it is nobody else's business but yours, but the widespread use of robots in intimate and caring roles will bring about important social changes. We need to examine these changes now and consider them from an ethical standpoint.

Robotic carers and artificial companions are a technology that is likely to be available in the near to mid­‐term future. In Japan and South Korea robots are seen as potential carers for the elderly and as babysitters. Many researchers are looking to make their products display emotion and respond to emotional displays by users. At least one writer has predicted marriage to robots will be accepted in progressive countries by 2050. This talk will examine some of the implications of these ‐ both technical and social. Do they represent socially and ethically acceptable developments? What is likely to be technically feasible and just what should we allow?


Dr Blay Whitby is a philosopher and ethicist concerned with the social impact of new and emerging technologies. He is a leading researcher in the field and the author of many books, chapters and papers on the subject including “On Computable Morality”, “Reflections on Artificial Intelligence: The Legal, Moral and Ethical Dimensions" and “Artificial Intelligence, A Beginner’s Guide”.


This talk is part of the lecture series on research talks by the visiting professors of the Vienna PhD School of Informatics.