Ethics, Equity, & Justice in Human-Robot Interaction: A Review and Future Directions


Anastasia K. Ostrowski

Anastasia K. Ostrowski 

Ostrowski, A.K., Walker, R., Das., M., Yang, M., Breazeal, C., Park, H.W., & Verma, A., (2022). Ethics, equity, & justice in human-robot interaction: A review and future directions. In Proceedings of 31st IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication.


As social robots rapidly become mainstream technologies, it is critical for HRI researchers and practitioners to consider their societal and ethical impacts as well as their ability to perpetuate or mitigate intersectional social inequities and hierarchies relating to race, class, gender, disability, and other social axes. Through an equity, ethics, and justice- centered audit of human-robot interaction (HRI) scholarship, we reveal how the HRI community has engaged with these topics over the past two decades. We use the five senses ethical framework that has been proposed specifically for use in HRI contexts to perform the review paired with an analysis of equity and justice. We then expand the Design Justice framework (a framework for analyzing how design impacts society and distributes benefits and burdens to society through the lenses of equity, values, scope, ownership, and accountability) to HRI contexts through the inclusion of HRI-specific topics such as autonomy, transparency, deception, and policies. We invite researchers and practitioners to explore the HRI Equitable Design framework to work towards designing equitable and inclusive HRI research studies and technologies. 

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