Service robots, care ethics, and design

A. van Wynsberghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)


It should not be a surprise in the near future to encounter either a personal or a professional service robot in our homes and/or our work places: according to the International Federation for Robots, there will be approx 35 million service robots at work by 2018. Given that individuals will interact and even cooperate with these service robots, their design and development demand ethical attention. With this in mind I suggest the use of an approach for incorporating ethics into the design process of robots known as Care Centered Value Sensitive Design (CCVSD). Although this approach was originally and intentionally designed for the healthcare domain, the aim of this paper is to present a preliminary study of how personal and professional service robots might also be evaluated using the CCVSD approach. The normative foundations for CCVSD come from its reliance on the care ethics tradition and in particular the use of care practices for: (1) structuring the analysis and, (2) determining the values of ethical import. To apply CCVSD outside of healthcare one must show that the robot has been integrated into a care practice. Accordingly, the practice into which the robot is to be used must be assessed and shown to meet the conditions of a care practice. By investigating the foundations of the approach I hope to show why it may be applicable for service robots and further to give examples of current robot prototypes that can and cannot be evaluated using CCVSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
JournalEthics and information technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2016


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