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Ethical risk assessment for social robots: Case studies in smart robot toys

Winfield, Alan F. T.; van Maris, Anouk; Winkle, Katie; Jirotka, Marina; Salvini, Pericle; Webb, Helena; Scott, Arianna Schuler; Freeman, Jaimie Lee; Kunze, Lars; Slovak, Petr; Theofanopoulou, Nikki


Katie Winkle

Marina Jirotka

Pericle Salvini

Helena Webb

Arianna Schuler Scott

Jaimie Lee Freeman

Lars Kunze

Petr Slovak

Nikki Theofanopoulou


Maria Isabel

Aldinhas Ferreira

Mohammad Osman Tokhi


Risk Assessment is a well known and powerful method for discovering and mitigating risks, and hence improving safety. Ethical Risk Assessment uses the same approach, but extends the scope of risk to cover ethical risks in addition to safety risks. In this paper we outline Ethical Risk Assessment (ERA), and set ERA within the broader framework of Responsible Robotics. We then illustrate ERA, first with a hypothetical smart robot teddy bear (RoboTed), and later with an actual smart robot toy (Purrble). Through these two case studies this paper demonstrates the value of ERA and how consideration of ethical risks can prompt design changes, resulting in more ethical and sustainable robots.


Winfield, A. F. T., van Maris, A., Winkle, K., Jirotka, M., Salvini, P., Webb, H., …Theofanopoulou, N. (2022). Ethical risk assessment for social robots: Case studies in smart robot toys. In M. Isabel, A. Ferreira, & M. Osman Tokhi (Eds.), Towards Trustworthy Artificial Intelligent Systems (61-76). Springer.

Online Publication Date Sep 8, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Sep 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 9, 2024
Publisher Springer
Pages 61-76
Series Title Part of the Intelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering book series (ISCA,volume 102)
Book Title Towards Trustworthy Artificial Intelligent Systems
Chapter Number 4
ISBN 9783031098222
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Additional Information First Online: 8 September 2022