78 – Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism



Are robots like humans? Are they agents? Can we have relationships with them? These are just some of the questions I explore with today’s guest, Sven Nyholm. Sven is an assistant professor of philosophy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His research focuses on ethics, particularly the ethics of technology. He is a friend of the show, having appeared twice before. In this episode, we are talking about his recent, great, book Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism.

You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).

Show Notes:

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Why did Sven play football with a robot? Who won?
  • What is a robot?
  • What is an agent?
  • Why does it matter if robots are agents?
  • Why does Sven worry about a normative mismatch between humans and robots? What should we do about this normative mismatch?
  • Why are people worried about responsibility gaps arising as a result of the widespread deployment of robots?
  • How should we think about human-robot collaborations?
  • Why should human drivers be more like self-driving cars?
  • Can we be friends with a robot?
  • Why does Sven reject my theory of ethical behaviourism?
  • Should we be pessimistic about the future of roboethics?

Relevant Links


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