Robot ethics largely focuses on two main categories of issues:
- How humans should design, construct, deploy, and interact with robots or other artificial moral agents (AMAs)
- The moral status of AMAs.
Each of these can be thought about in relation to the main types of robots: industrial robots, military robots, social robots, and caregiving robots. The first category of issues raises such questions as:
- How do humans react to robots?
- What designs are more or less favored by humans?
- What are the responsibilities of those who create robots?
- Under what circumstances – or in what contexts – should robots be used?
- What are the risks of robots being hacked?
- How can these risks be mitigated?
The second category deals with the behavior of robots if and when they achieve independent decision-making abilities and status as moral agents. It remains unclear whether robots will ever be able to achieve full autonomy. Other questions include:
- If robots achieve moral status, how should they be instructed, rewarded, and punished?
- What does it mean to instruct, reward, and punish a robot?
- What implications would robots as moral agents have for human beings?