The robot as a moral agent
In the literature, it is distinguished between potential threats arising from the robot itself, from the hardware, that could be used for example to commit a crime, like filming things without permission – and on the other hand, there is Artificial Intelligence, which could mean that the machine develops a personality, a free will, and opportunistic behavior. One example could be a robot stealing energy for self-preservation.
- Robots are nothing but machines: in this case, roboethics is the same as any other ethical approach in mechanics.
- Robots have ethical dimensions: robots have an intrinsic ethical dimension. They are one of the ways in which humans distinguish themselves from animals and help them to improve their own ethical capacity.
- Robots as moral agents: robots can be involved in moral situations. They can be acted upon good and evil and can perform such actions themselves. However, for this purpose, a free will is not necessarily required.
- Robots as a new species: according to this point of view, robots will have autonomy and consciences. They will exceed humans in moral as well as intellectual dimensions.
- The robot only does what it is told, without any free will or moral behavior. Nevertheless, this could lead to the misuse by third (e.g. criminal) parties.
- The robot develops a personality and therefore a free will. This could lead to opportunistic behavior of the robot itself.
(Reynolds and Ishikawa, 2007)