Assistant Professor of Ethics and Robots

Short Bio
Aimee van Wynsberghe is assistant professor of ethics and technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She is co-founder and president of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics. She is also a member of the 4TU center for ethics and technology where she heads the robotics task force. With the help of an NWO personal research grant she is researching how we can responsibly design service robots. Her past research looked at evaluating and designing care robots.

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Upcoming Events

Sep
29
Thu
all-day Symbiotic Workshop (Panel Expert) @ Palazzo Moroni
Symbiotic Workshop (Panel Expert) @ Palazzo Moroni
Sep 29 – Sep 30 all-day
Expert on the ethics panel for the 5th International workshop on Symbiotic Interaction.
Oct
17
Mon
all-day Robophilosophy 2016 @ Aarhus University
Robophilosophy 2016 @ Aarhus University
Oct 17 – Oct 21 all-day
Organizing and participating in the workshop on Responsible Robotics on behalf of the FRR. This workshop is part of Robophilosophy 2016.
Nov
1
Tue
all-day Brave New World (Speaker)
Brave New World (Speaker)
Nov 1 – Nov 2 all-day
Part of the Leiden International Film Festival Brave New World “will be a place for engineers, venture capitalists, innovation managers, government officials, hackers, futurists, gamers, artists, directors, the generally curious, and anyone who has a story[...]
Nov
14
Mon
all-day Lorentz Center Workshop on Value...
Lorentz Center Workshop on Value...
Nov 14 – Nov 18 all-day
Participant at the workshop entitled “Value Sensitive Design: Charting the Next Decade”. Website ->
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Article Published!

The online first version of my latest article “Service Robots, Ethics, and Design” has been published in the Journal of Ethics and Information Technology.  It is open access so you can view it...
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University of Western Ontario

Western Alumni Article

“Aimee van Wynsberghe brings a little humanity to cold, cold code.” An article was written about me for the University of Western Ontario alumni magazine. Read it here:...
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Guest on Al Jazeera news discussing Microsoft's Tay Tweets Fiasco

Media Appearance: Al Jazeera News

I appeared on Al Jazeera news (March 25, 2016) to discuss the racist Microsoft Twitter bot...
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Featured on the RoboPsych podcast

RoboPsych Podcast with Tom Guarrellio

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Tom Guarrellio who is the creator of RoboPsych, a brilliant forum for discussing the psychology of human-robot interactions. We talked about my work with the Foundation for Responsible Robotics as well as my work...
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Qua Art Qua Science

On November 23, 2015 I was able to discuss my work in ethics and care robots with a group of artists and members of the community interested in the topic. After giving a talk about the ethical issues facing the design and implementation of care robots I had the chance...
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hriparis

Workshop on HRI in Paris

On Friday Oct 30 I was pleased to be one of the co-organizers of a 3TU sponsored workshop entitled: Bridging the gap between HRI and robot ethics research. This workshop was held in conjunction with the International Conference on Social Robotics. The format of the...
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Selected as one of the 400 most successful women under 40 in the Netherlands

Nominated for the VIVA 400!

I have been nominated for the VIVA 400. I am one of 400 women nominated this year. There are four categories – I have been nominated for the “knappe koppen” (clever heads) group. I am so honored to be considered among these incredible women. The...
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In the Media: Mashable and Computer Idee

An article I was interviewed for came out in mashable entitled “The importance of human innovation in A.I. ethics”.  Aside from  me being in it, it is a great article. Link: http://mashable.com/2015/10/03/ethics-artificial-intelligence/ In the Dutch...
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NWO Veni Grant!

I am happier than ever to announce that I have received an NWO funded Veni research grant. The personal grant will allow me to research the ethical issues related to the design and development of service robots … much more to come! For more info see:...
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My book is now available!!

After many long hours of work, reviews, and edits, my book is now available! The book is entitled: Healthcare Robots: ethics, design, and implementation. You can find it at Ashgate and Amazon.  A huge thank you to all who helped with ideas, reviews, edits, and...
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PUBLICATIONS

Notable Selection

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

H-Index: 9

Citations

Service Robots, Ethics, and Design (2016)

Author(s): Aimee Van Wynsberghe
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10676-016-9409-x

 

Abstract
It should not be a surprise in the near future to encounter either a personal or a professional service robot in our homes and/or our work places: according to the International Federation for Robots, there will be approx 35 million service robots at work by 2018. Given that individuals will interact and even cooperate with these service robots, their design and development demand ethical attention. With this in mind I suggest the use of an approach for incorporating ethics into the design process of robots known as Care Centered Value Sensitive Design (CCVSD). Although this approach was originally and intentionally designed for the healthcare domain, the aim of this paper is to present a preliminary study of how personal and professional service robots might also be evaluated using the CCVSD approach. The normative foundations for CCVSD come from its reliance on the care ethics tradition and in particular the use of care practices for: (1) structuring the analysis and, (2) determining the values of ethical import. To apply CCVSD outside of healthcare one must show that the robot has been integrated into a care practice. Accordingly, the practice into which the robot is to be used must be assessed and shown to meet the conditions of a care practice. By investigating the foundations of the approach I hope to show why it may be applicable for service robots and further to give examples of current robot prototypes that can and cannot be evaluated using CCVSD.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A. (2016). Service robots, care ethics, and design. Ethics and Information Technology, 1-11.

Designing robots for care: Care centered value-sensitive design (2011)
Authors: Aimee Van Wynsberghe
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-011-9343-6#/page-1

 

Abstract
The prospective robots in healthcare intended to be included within the conclave of the nurse-patient relationship—what I refer to as care robots—require rigorous ethical reflection to ensure their design and introduction do not impede the promotion of values and the dignity of patients at such a vulnerable and sensitive time in their lives. The ethical evaluation of care robots requires insight into the values at stake in the healthcare tradition. What’s more, given the stage of their development and lack of standards provided by the International Organization for Standardization to guide their development, ethics ought to be included into the design process of such robots. The manner in which this may be accomplished, as presented here, uses the blueprint of the Value-sensitive design approach as a means for creating a framework tailored to care contexts. Using care values as the foundational values to be integrated into a technology and using the elements in care, from the care ethics perspective, as the normative criteria, the resulting approach may be referred to as care centered value-sensitive design. The framework proposed here allows for the ethical evaluation of care robots both retrospectively and prospectively. By evaluating care robots in this way, we may ultimately ask what kind of care we, as a society, want to provide in the future.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A. (2013). Designing robots for care: Care centered value-sensitive design. Science and engineering ethics, 19(2), 407-433.

Ethicist as Designer: a pragmatic approach to ethics in the lab (2014)
Authors: Aimee Van Wynsberghe, Scott Robbins
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-011-9343-6

 

Abstract
The prospective robots in healthcare intended to be included within the conclave of the nurse-patient relationship—what I refer to as care robots—require rigorous ethical reflection to ensure their design and introduction do not impede the promotion of values and the dignity of patients at such a vulnerable and sensitive time in their lives. The ethical evaluation of care robots requires insight into the values at stake in the healthcare tradition. What’s more, given the stage of their development and lack of standards provided by the International Organization for Standardization to guide their development, ethics ought to be included into the design process of such robots. The manner in which this may be accomplished, as presented here, uses the blueprint of the Value-sensitive design approach as a means for creating a framework tailored to care contexts. Using care values as the foundational values to be integrated into a technology and using the elements in care, from the care ethics perspective, as the normative criteria, the resulting approach may be referred to as care centered value-sensitive design. The framework proposed here allows for the ethical evaluation of care robots both retrospectively and prospectively. By evaluating care robots in this way, we may ultimately ask what kind of care we, as a society, want to provide in the future.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A., & Robbins, S. (2014). Ethicist as Designer: a pragmatic approach to ethics in the lab. Science and engineering ethics, 20(4), 947-961.

Book: Healthcare Robots (Ashgate, 2015)
aimeeBookSmallLink: https://www.routledge.com/products/isbn/9781472444332
Citation: van Wynsberghe, A. (2015). Healthcare robots: ethics, design and implementation. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

 

’This is a tour de force from one of a new breed of researchers concerned with the societal and ethical issues created by new technologies. Wynsberghe highlights many of the problems with the accelerating use of robotics for elder care and brilliantly points the way forward through value sensitive design. This is a must read, not only for those working in robotics but also for those interested in the future and practice of care.’ Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield, UK

Telesurgery: An Ethical Appraisal (2008)
Authors: Aimee van Wynsberghe and Chris Gastmans
Link: http://jme.bmj.com/content/34/10/e22.short 

 

Abstract
The aim of this article is to provide a preliminary ethical evaluation of the effect of telesurgery (long distance, remote surgery) on patient care. In order to accomplish this task we give a broad description of the state of the art in telesurgery and analyse it using Joan Tronto’s articulation of care as a structured process. This structure illuminates the significance of the patient-physician relationship as the buttress for establishing and preserving practices of care in the healthcare context, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding patient dignity. The process of care combined with the moral aim of medicine—to fulfil the good of the patient—provides the ethical foundation for assessing telesurgery. By exploring various telesurgical scenarios we may assess its potential role in augmenting or diminishing patient care within the frame of the patient-physician relationship. The significance of conducting this evaluation lies in the fact that the practice of telesurgery may very shortly become routine and an evaluation has not yet been attempted.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A., & Gastmans, C. (2008). Telesurgery: an ethical appraisal. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34(10), e22-e22.

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