Holding Robots Responsible: The Elements of Machine Morality

Yochanan E. Bigman*, Adam Waytz, Ron Alterovitz, Kurt Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

102 Scopus citations


As robots become more autonomous, people will see them as more responsible for wrongdoing. Moral psychology suggests that judgments of robot responsibility will hinge on perceived situational awareness, intentionality, and free will, plus human likeness and the robot's capacity for harm. We also consider questions of robot rights and moral decision-making.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)365-368
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • autonomous machines
  • autonomy
  • morality
  • responsibility


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