Ethical Design of a Robot Platform for Disabled Employees: Some Practical Methodological Considerations

Colombino, Tommaso and Gallo, Danilo and Shreepriya, Shreepriya and Im, Yesook and Cha, Seijin (2021) Ethical Design of a Robot Platform for Disabled Employees: Some Practical Methodological Considerations. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 8. ISSN 2296-9144

[thumbnail of pubmed-zip/versions/1/package-entries/frobt-08-643160/frobt-08-643160.pdf] Text
pubmed-zip/versions/1/package-entries/frobt-08-643160/frobt-08-643160.pdf - Published Version

Download (899kB)


This paper explains the process of developing a scenario involving the use of a robotic platform to enhance the work experience of disabled employees. We outline the challenges involved in revealing the potential unintended consequences of introducing elements of Artificial Intelligence, automation, and robotics into a socially and ethically complex and potentially fragile scenario, and the practical challenges involved in giving a voice to vulnerable users throughout the design process. While an ideal case scenario would involve the disabled employees as much as possible directly in the design process, this can, realistically, be a challenge. In this paper, we detail a methodological and analytic approach that is centered around ethnography and design fictions. It is designed to provide a deeper understanding of all the stakeholders involved in the scenario while encouraging ethical reflection. Based on our findings, we argue that, while it is relatively easy to adopt an a priori ethical stance through notions such as inclusivity and accessibility, there are risks involved in making such a priori prescriptions with respect to the perspectives of different stakeholders in an applied research project. More specifically, we highlight the importance of understanding the broad organizational and bureaucratic characteristics of a business or workplace when devising HRI scenarios and tasks, and of considering elements such as business models, operating philosophy, and organizational hierarchies in the design process.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Eurolib Press > Mathematical Science
Depositing User: Managing Editor
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2023 03:34
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2023 04:09

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item