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Ethical Considerations from Child-Robot Interactions in Under-Resourced Communities.

  • Singh, Divyanshu Kumar1
  • Kumar, Manohar1
  • Fosch-Villaronga, Eduard2
  • Singh, Deepa3
  • Shukla, Jainendra1
  • 1 Indraprastha Insitute of Information Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India. , (India)
  • 2 eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 3 Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. , (India)
Published Article
International journal of social robotics
Publication Date
May 26, 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s12369-022-00882-1
PMID: 35637787


Recent advancements in socially assistive robotics (SAR) have shown a significant potential of using social robotics to achieve increasing cognitive and affective outcomes in education. However, the deployments of SAR technologies also bring ethical challenges in tandem, to the fore, especially in under-resourced contexts. While previous research has highlighted various ethical challenges that arise in SAR deployment in real-world settings, most of the research has been centered in resource-rich contexts, mainly in developed countries in the 'Global North,' and the work specifically in the educational setting is limited. This research aims to evaluate and reflect upon the potential ethical and pedagogical challenges of deploying a social robot in an under-resourced context. We base our findings on a 5-week in-the-wild user study conducted with 12 kindergarten students at an under-resourced community school in New Delhi, India. We used interaction analysis with the context of learning, education, and ethics to analyze the user study through video recordings. Our findings highlighted four primary ethical considerations that should be taken into account while deploying social robotics technologies in educational settings; (1) language and accent as barriers in pedagogy, (2) effect of malfunctioning, (un)intended harms, (3) trust and deception, and (4) ecological viability of innovation. Overall, our paper argues for assessing the ethical and pedagogical constraints and bridging the gap between non-existent literature from such a context to evaluate better the potential use of such technologies in under-resourced contexts. © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2022.

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