Ethical Risk Assessment for Social Robots: Case Studies in Smart Robot Toys

Alan F.T. Winfield, Anouk van Maris*, Katie Winkle, Marina Jirotka, Pericle Salvini, Helena Webb, Arianna Schuler Scott, Jaimie Lee Freeman, Lars Kunze, Petr Slovak, Nikki Theofanopoulou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Risk Assessment is a well known and powerful method for discovering and mitigating risks, and hence improving safety. Ethical Risk Assessment uses the same approach, but extends the scope of risk to cover ethical risks in addition to safety risks. In this paper we outline Ethical Risk Assessment (ERA), and set ERA within the broader framework of Responsible Robotics. We then illustrate ERA, first with a hypothetical smart robot teddy bear (RoboTed), and later with an actual smart robot toy (Purrble). Through these two case studies this paper demonstrates the value of ERA and how consideration of ethical risks can prompt design changes, resulting in more ethical and sustainable robots.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Systems, Control and Automation
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Engineering
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameIntelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering
ISSN (Print)2213-8986
ISSN (Electronic)2213-8994


  • BS8611
  • Ethical risk assessment
  • Responsible robotics
  • Smart robot toy
  • Social robots


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