For the past few months, the Open Roboethics initiative have been exploring the topic of care robots. During one of our meetings, we got into a discussion about whether the ownership of a robot should play a role in its decision-making. In a care scenario, for example, a robot may have been purchased by the patient, by the hospital (which sent it home with the patient to monitor their health), or by a concerned family member who wants to monitor their relative.
We have seen ownership play a role in robot decision-making before. For example, in one of our previous polls we asked readers whose life should be prioritized – the car’s passengers or people outside the car – when a fatal accident is inevitable. Those who said that the car should prioritize passenger safety explained their views in terms of ownership: “I bought the car. It should protect me.”
What about the case when a care recipient is not the owner of the robot? Should it matter who the owner is?
Let us know what you think by participating in the poll below.