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AISB event Bulletin Item

2nd CALL FOR PAPERS:Machine Ethics in the Context of Medical and Care Agents, AISB-50, 1 - 4 April 2014. Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Symposium dates:  Thursday 3 and Friday 4 April 2014.  

AISB Convention dates:  1 - 4 April 2014.   
We are pleased to announce a Symposium on Machine Ethics in the Context of Medical and Care Agents,
as part of the AISB-50 Annual Convention 2014 to be held at Goldsmiths, University of London, 
between April 1st and 4th, 2014 (detailed Convention programme tba).  The Convention is organised 
by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of  Behaviour (AISB)    


Robots and non-embodied artificial agents are playing increasingly prominent roles in human 
society.  One group of application areas concerns medical treatment and care and personal and 
social support: treatment and care for people in hospitals, care homes and private houses and 
other domestic contexts  areas where artificial agents will be doing the jobs of people working 
in close proximity to many individuals, often the most vulnerable members of the population.  
Artificial agents in these applications will be fulfilling functions that routinely require 
interactive and affective sensitivity, practical knowledge of a range of rules of professional 
conduct, and general ethical insight, autonomy and responsibility.  They will be working with 
people who are in fragile states of health, or who have physical or cognitive disabilities of 
various kinds, who are very young or very old, etc.  The professions involved have well-defined 
codes of conduct for dealing with children, old people and other vulnerable individuals, in 
relation to minimizing harm, responsible and safe action, privacy, informed consent, respect 
for personal autonomy, security, and so on.  Artificial agents working in such professional 
contexts are likely to be required to be, or looked on as, ethical agents, in a rich sense of 
the term.  However, it is a matter of debate as to when it will be appropriate to make them 
shoulder, or share, moral blame or credit for outcomes resulting from their actions.    

The aim of this symposium is to provide a forum to discuss the numerous ethical theoretical and 
practical questions that arise in relation to artificial Medical and Care Agents (MCAs), and 
more broadly, the ethical responsibilities of artificial agents which operate with increasing 
autonomy in spheres which involve personal contact, often with very vulnerable humans  patients, 
the elderly, the very young, people with learning disabilities, dementia and other special support 

Contributions are invited from a range of disciplines, including: 

--- designers and developers of MCAs; 

--- those concerned with the deployment of MCAs in health or care situations; 

--- those concerned with the broader social implications of the proliferation of MCAs and related autonomous agents 

--- psychologists
--- roboticists, HRI specialists; 

--- philosophers, 


Issues that are to be addressed by this Symposium include the following (this list is indicative only):
--- Theoretical issues in Machine Ethics/Ethics of Robotics, concerning MCAs
--- Practical issues in Machine/Robot Ethics, concerning health and social care 
--- The nature, scope and limitations of MCAs: immediate, medium and long-term issues.
--- Architectures and other design issues for MCAs
--- Ethical autonomy and direct responsibility in MCAs: Meaning of autonomy, etc.;  to what 
extent possible? how far ethically advisable?
--- Physical versus virtual MCAs.
--- Ethical training for MCAs
--- MCAs as ethical advisers or trainers of humans.
--- Professional ethics issues relating to MCAs:  e.g. informed consent, privacy, autonomy, 
dignity of care recipients; health and safety issues; 

--- Human  artificial agent interrelations in medical and care contexts, e.g.
seniority in artificial agents vis--vis junior staff; 

trust and authority; 

patient acceptance/rejection; 

levels of acceptance by professional personnel; 

appropriate policies for professional bodies, funding bodies, commissioning authorities, etc.;
--- Long term impacts on society of proliferating artificial agents operating in close contact to humans; 

--- MCAs and appearance: 

humanoid versus other incarnations; 

humanoid characteristics in physical body-plan; 

facial characteristics; voice production, etc.
--- Economic pressures on the deployment of MCAs
--- Impact on the care of people with high levels of need and vulnerability;
--- Empathy, consciousness and ethical understanding in MCAs;
--- Attribution of ethical status, moral responsibility to MCAs.

Submissions to the workshop should be in the form of a short abstract of 200 words, and a longer 
abstract of about 1000 words.  If desired you may submit a full paper, of a length not exceeding 
eight pages, in the place of the longer abstract.  Submissions should be sent via EasyChair:
Submissions will be evaluated by at least two reviewers, on a double-blind basis. Selected papers 
will be published in the Proceedings of the AISB Convention, subject to the condition that at least
ONE author of each paper accepted attends the symposium in order to present the paper, and to 
participate in general symposium activities. 

Papers for the published proceedings should conform to a standard AISB proceedings format. Text 
editor templates from a previous convention can be found at: . 

Full paper submission deadline: January 3, 2014  

Notification of acceptance/rejection decisions: February 3, 2014
Final versions of accepted papers (Camera ready copy): February 24, 2014
Convention: April 1-4, 2014 (Confirmation of symposium dates TBA.)  


Please note that there will be separate proceedings for each symposium, produced before the 
convention. Each delegate will receive a memory stick containing the proceedings of all the 
symposia. In previous years there have been awards for the best student paper, and limited 
student bursaries. These details will be circulated as and when they become available. Authors 
of a selection of the best papers will be invited to submit an extended version of the work to 
a journal special issue. 
Following the end of the symposium, contributors may be invited to submit a revised version of
their workshop paper to a special issue of a journal.

Symposium Organizing Committee: 

--- Steve Torrance, School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton UK.   (Symposium co-chair)
--- Mark Coeckelbergh, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, The Netherlands.   (Symposium co-chair)
--- Johnny Soraker, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, The Netherlands. 

--- Blay Whitby, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton UK. 

--- Aime van Wynsberghe, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, The Netherlands.
PROGRAMME COMMITTEE (other names may be added): 

Michael Anderson (Hartford, CT, USA)  

Ron Chrisley (Sussex, UK) 

Kerstin Dautenhahn (Hertfordshire, UK) 

David Gunkel (N. Illinois, USA) 

Patrick Lin (California Poly, USA) 

Amanda Sharkey (Sheffield, UK) 

Noel Sharkey (Sheffield, UK)
John Sullins (Sonoma State, CA, USA) 

Shannon Vallor (Santa Clara, CA, USA)
Wendell Wallach (Yale, CT, USA)