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Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents series) Paperback – January 10, 2014
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The book is an excellent primer on ethics and philosophy. It is definitely accessible to an undergraduate student―perhaps in the context of an undergraduate engineering ethics course. It is also a valuable reference for roboticists, providing an awareness of the social concerns related to their research.(Choice)
About the Author
Patrick Lin is a philosopher and Director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group, based at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
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Two topics somewhat absent from this volume are self-driving vehicles and strong AI, but those get more attention in "Robot Ethics 2.0: From Autonomous Cars to Artificial Intelligence" (2017). While that work comes from a different publisher, it shares 2 out of 3 editors with this one. Aside from the companion/care-giver issue, which is the topic of several articles in "2.0," the two collections tend more to supplement than overlap each other. So don't be misled into thinking that this collection is obsolete -- the 2017 collection is more like a Volume 2 than a true 2.0. (However, both volumes are relatively "micro" in their orientation -- neither one discusses more "macro" social issues such as the ethics of using robots to displace human workers.)
One semi-prerequisite, though: it would help to have a little bit of background knowledge about some major schools of ethics -- esp. utilitarianism, consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. The review in this book is very abbreviated, and many authors assume you know what those things are. I plan to spend roughly 2-3 hours of instruction on this before having students dive into this book; you almost certainly could pick up enough background from poking around in Wikipedia and the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a comparably brief time. (Of course, reading a short book on the subject, like Torbjörn Tännsjö's "Understanding Ethics (2nd ed.)" or Simon Blackburn's "Ethics: A Very Short Introduction", won't exactly kill you, either.)
All in all, a very strong recommend for readers interested in robots, and readers interested in applied ethics generally.