Should ownership influence decision making of a care robot?

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 an interesting discussion about whether a robot that you own should be programmed to make different choices than a robot that perhaps a different person or entity owns that you happen to use. For example, maybe the hospital sent you home with it to monitor your health, or one of your family members bought it to take care of you.

We saw ownership play a role before. For example, in one of our previous polls we asked our readers whether they would have their autonomous car kill a child on the road or sacrifice their own life to save the child. Some people who voted to kill the child argued that the should prioritize the passenger’s safety, saying “I bought the car. It should protect me.”

What about care robots where the care recipient may not be the owner of the robot? Should it matter who the owner is?

Let us know what you think by participating in the poll below.


  1. Nikolaos Skordilis
    • ORi

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