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Environmental robot virtues and ecological justice

Justin Donhauser

Keywords: robot ethics; environmental robotics; ecological robots; ecological justice; Anthropocene

Robotics technologies are being used for environmental research, and engineers and ecologists are exploring ways of integrating an array of new robots into ecosystems as a means of responding to mounting environmental problems. These efforts introduce new roles that robots may play in our environments, potentially crucial new forms of human dependence on such robots, and new ways that robots can promote and enhance well-being. Such approaches at once bring up questions about when the use of robots for repairing or mitigating ecological problems is ethically permissible and when it is not. This article builds on recent work on the ethics of such ‘environmental robots’, and advances a virtue-centred framework for guiding the development and use of robots for environmental engineering and for addressing ecological justice issues.

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