Chapter 9 deals with the ethics associated with Virtual Humans - both in terms of how we use them, and the issues involved when carrying out research with them. Having run a couple of covert Turing Tests where deception was very much part of the experiment we are acutely aware of some of the latter issues, and even some of our early work on virtual personas is already bringing a variety of ethical issues to the fore.

We'll post useful models and additional analysis here.

Selected References

Borenstein, J. & Arkin, R. C. (2016). Robots, ethics, and intimacy: the need forscientific research. In: Conference of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP 2016). Ferrara, IT, June.

de Visser, E. J., Monfort, S. S., McKendrick, R., Smith, M. A., McKnight, P. E., Krueger, F., & Parasuraman, R. (2016). Almost human: Anthropomorphism increases trust resilience in cognitive agents. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 22(3), 331.

Hasler, B. S., P. Tuchman & D. Friedman (2013). Virtual Research Assistants: Replacing Human Interviewers by Automated Avatars in Virtual Worlds, Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (4), 1608-1616.

Levy, D. (2008).Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships. New York: Harper Perennial.

Malle, B.F. (2016). Integrating robot ethics and machine morality: the study and design of moral competence in robots. Ethics Information Technology, 18, 243–256.

Michel, A.H. (2013). Interview: The professor of robot love. Center for the Study of the Drone. October 5, Available online:
National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1978), Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research. Available online: (18 January 2016).

National Institute of Health (1949). Nuremberg Code. Available online:

Riek, L. D. & Howard, D. (2014) A Code of Ethics for the Human-Robot Interaction Profession (April 4). Proceedings of We Robot, 2014. Available online: SSRN:

Savin-Baden, M., & Major, C. (2013). Qualitative Research: The Essential Guide to Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.

Savin-Baden, M., Tombs, G., Burden, D., & Wood, C. (2013). “It's Almost like Talking to a Person’, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 5(2), 78–93.

Savin-Baden, M., G. Tombs & R. Bhakta (2015). Beyond Robotic Wastelands of Time: Abandoned Pedagogical Agents and New Pedalled Pedagogies’, E-Learning and Digital Media, 12 (3-4), 295-314.

Savin-Baden, M. Burden, D & Taylor, H. (2017). The ethics and impact of digital immortality - Special Issue of Knowledge Cultures – Technologies and time in the age of global neoliberal capitalism, 5(2), 11-29.

Savin-Baden, M. & Tombs. G. (2017). Research Methods for Education in the Digital Age London: Bloomsbury.

Turkle, S. (2010). In good company? On the thresholdof robotic companions, In Y. Wilks (Ed.), Close engagements with artificial companions: key social, psychological, ethical and design issues, (pp 3–10). Amsterdam, Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Pub. Company.

United Nations (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Available online:

Waddell, T. F., Ivory, J. D., Conde, R., Long, C. & McDonnell. R. (2014). White Man’s Virtual World: A Systematic Content Analysis of Gender and Race in Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Journal for Virtual Worlds Research, [S.l.],  7, (2) Available online: