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Ethics of AI and interactive autonomous systems


Status Active - open for registrations
School IDA-gemensam (IDA)
Owner Tom Ziemke

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Course plan

No of lectures

5-7 seminars (exact number depends on number of participants)

Recommended for

The course is mainly intended for PhD students in cognitive science, computer science, design, and related disciplines.

The course was last given

The course was last given as a PhD course autumn autumn 2021. (There were several students who tried to join too late - which is why it is offered again in 2022.)


The main goal is to familiarize students with ethical issues relevant to AI in general - and in particular human interaction with autonomous technologies, such as social robots or automated vehicles.


Some background in cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and/or human-computer interaction.


The course mainly consists of student presentations and seminars discussing background literature and recent articles.


The course addresses different ethical issues relevant to AI, with a focus on human interaction with autonomous technologies, such as social robots and automated vehicles. The course combines background literature on different ethical theories and frameworks with recent articles on current research issues (e.g. explainable AI) and current debates of societal relevance (e.g. autonomous weapon systems).


This list is preliminary, based on the 2021 version of the course, i.e. details of the topics/seminars listed below could be change a bit in 2022.


Coeckelbergh M (2020). AI Ethics. MIT Press.


Seminar 1 (intro & overview)

Stahl (2021). Concepts of Ethics and Their Application to AI. In: Artificial Intelligence for a Better Future. SpringerBriefs in Research and Innovation Governance. Springer, Cham.

Müller (2021). Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. In: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2021 Edition), Zalta (ed).

Seminar 2 (robots)

Boden et al. (2017). Principles of robotics: regulating robots in the real world. Connection Science, 29:2, 124-129.

de Graaf (2016). An Ethical Evaluation of Human–Robot Relationships. International Journal of Social Robotics, 8, 589–598.

Vanderelst & Winfield (2018). An architecture for ethical robots inspired by the simulation theory of cognition. Cognitive Systems Research, 48, 56-66.

Bradwell et al (2020). Ethical perceptions towards real-world use of companion robots with older people and people with dementia: survey opinions among younger adults. BMC Geriatrics, 20: 244.

Seminar 3 (automated vehicles)

Goodall (2014). Ethical Decision Making during Automated Vehicle Crashes. Transportation Research Record, 2424(1):58-65.

Lin (2016). Why Ethics Matters for Autonomous Cars. In: Maurer et al. (eds) Autonomous Driving. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Bonnefon et al (2016). The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles. Science, Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1573-1576.

Awad et al (2018). The Moral Machine experiment. Nature, 563, 59–64 (2018).

Seminar 4 (military applications)

Arkin (2009). Ethical Robots in Warfare. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 2009, pp. 30–33

Sharkey (2012/2016). The evitability of autonomous robot warfare. International Review of the Red Cross 94, no. 886.

Sparrow (2016). Robots and Respect: Assessing the Case Against Autonomous Weapon Systems. Ethics & International Affairs, 30(1), 93-116.


Tom Ziemke


Tom Ziemke


Mandatory student presentations, active participation in seminar discussions, and coursework.


6 hp


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