The progress towards a society in which robots are our daily attendants seems to be inevitable. Sharing our workplaces, our homes and public squares with robots calls for an exploration of how we want and need to organize our cohabitation with these increasingly autonomous machines. Not only the question of how robots should treat humans or the surrounding world, but also the questions of how humans should treat robots, and how robots should treat each other, may and should be asked. Considering the Kantian idea that possessing dignity is based on autonomy and the fact that robots are becoming increasingly autonomous and rational, one of these questions might be whether robots can have dignity. Two issues must therefore be addressed before answering the question: 1. What are robots and why should we think about “robot dignity” at all? and 2. What is dignity? The answer to the first question is necessary to understand the object of investigation and will be considered briefly. The second more complex question requires a short glimpse on the existing theories and the history of the term before a proposal will be given on how to understand dignity. Finally, it will be explained why robots cannot be rightly seen as possessors of dignity.
This book discusses major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is superintelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews? In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiments of AI, be it by voice or by actual physical embodiment, give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?