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Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency, and Anthropomorphism

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2022.04.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Sven Nyholm, Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency, and Anthropomorphism, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020, 223pp., $34.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781786612274.

Reviewed by Christoph Durt, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

Sven Nyholm’s book is about the ethics of human-robot interaction, which he neatly breaks down into two questions. On the one hand, how should robots be designed in order to behave appropriately around people? On the other hand, how should people conduct themselves around different kinds of robots? (cf. p.4) Unlike very narrow approaches that consider robots in isolation, the book widens the focus to include human behavior and human-robot interaction. The book mostly considers robots that have stirred wide public attention, such as the humanoid robot Sophia who famously received honorary citizenship of Saudi Arabia. Other examples are sex robots and “robotic looking” (8) robots such as the commercially available robot Pepper. The first half of the book also discusses a number…

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