Assistant Professor of Ethics and Robots

© Kees Elzenga

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

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European Robotics Week in Amsterdam Nov 18, 2016

I was proud to be a part of the European Robotics Week in Amsterdam. Not only were the robot demos incredible but I had the privilege of meeting: Juha Heikkilä, the Head of the European Commission Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Unit in DG Connect; Sabine...
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Panel Discussion at Brave New World

On Friday November 3 I had the privilege of participating on a panel discussing the future and ethics on human-machine interactions. The panel was for the film festival “Brave New World“. Also on the panel were scholars: David Levy, Eleanor Hancock, and...
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Lecture at Care Summit 2016

On Nov 1 I was asked to give a talk for the Care Summit in the Hague, Netherlands. A most gracious thank you to event co-organizers Robbert-Jan Poerstamper and Alexander Rinnooy Kan for the invitation. It’s wonderful to see that policy makers and healthcare...
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VIVA

Magazine Article: Viva (Dutch)

I was featured in this weeks VIVA magazine. I am in the print edition as well as on their website (link, translation). Last year I was selected by VIVA as one of the 400 most influential women in the Netherlands under 40. See my post about it here. In the interview...
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Photo: Cees Elzenga

Article about me in “The Financial Newspaper” (dutch)

In “Het Financieele Dagblad” (The Financial Newspaper) I am featured in an article on robotics. It is in dutch. You can find it here.
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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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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 (2013)

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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