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An architecture for ethical robots inspired by the simulation theory of cognition

Winfield, Alan; Vanderelst, Dieter

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Authors

Dieter Vanderelst



Abstract

The expanding ability of robots to take unsupervised decisions renders it imperative that mechanisms are in place to guarantee the safety of their behaviour. Moreover, intelligent autonomous robots should be more than safe; arguably they should also be explicitly ethical. In this paper, we put forward a method for implementing ethical behaviour in robots inspired by the simulation theory of cognition. In contrast to existing frameworks for robot ethics, our approach does not rely on the verification of logic statements. Rather, it utilises internal simulations which allow the robot to simulate actions and predict their consequences. Therefore, our method is a form of robotic imagery. To demonstrate the proposed architecture, we implement a version of this architecture on a humanoid NAO robot so that it behaves according to Asimov's laws of robotics. In a series of four experiments, using a second NAO robot as a proxy for the human, we demonstrate that the Ethical Layer enables the robot to prevent the human from coming to harm in simple test scenarios.

Citation

Winfield, A., & Vanderelst, D. (2018). An architecture for ethical robots inspired by the simulation theory of cognition. Cognitive Systems Research, 48, 56-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2017.04.002

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 8, 2017
Online Publication Date May 22, 2017
Publication Date May 1, 2018
Journal Cognitive Systems Research
Print ISSN 1389-0417
Electronic ISSN 1389-0417
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Pages 56-66
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2017.04.002
Keywords Ethical robots; Self-simulation; Simulation theory; Machine ethics; Machine Morality
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/1435374
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2017.04.002

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