Towards an ethical robot: Internal models, consequences and ethical action selection

Winfield, A. F., Blum, C. and Liu, W. (2014) Towards an ethical robot: Internal models, consequences and ethical action selection. In: Mistry, M., Leonardis, Aleš, Witkowski, M. and Melhuish, C., eds. Advances in Autonomous Robotics Systems: Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference, TAROS 2014, Birmingham, UK, 1-3 September 2014., pp. 85-96 Available from:

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If robots are to be trusted, especially when interacting with humans, then they will need to be more than just safe. This paper explores the potential of robots capable of modelling and therefore predicting the consequences of both their own actions, and the actions of other dynamic actors in their environment. We show that with the addition of an ‘ethical’ action selection mechanism a robot can sometimes choose actions that compromise its own safety in order to prevent a second robot from coming to harm. An implementation with e-puck mobile robots provides a proof of principle by showing that a simple robot can, in real time, model and act upon the consequences of both its own and another robot’s actions. We argue that this work moves us towards robots that are ethical, as well as safe.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:human-robot interaction, safety, internal model, machine ethics
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics
ID Code:23487
Deposited By: Professor A. Winfield
Deposited On:03 Sep 2014 09:59
Last Modified:08 Apr 2016 20:23

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