The aim of this paper is to sketch the basic motivations for “Integrative Social Robotics” (ISR), as a new paradigm for how to approach research, design, and development of social robotics applications that are culturally sustainable. I argue that social robotics saddles us with normative-regulatory and descriptive questions that currently are kept too far apart. Currently HRI research investigates what social robots can do and robo-ethicists deliberate afterwards what robots should do. However, given the rapid pace of the robotics industry, descriptive and regulatory questions must be treated in combination. On the ISR approach research in social robotics turns on what social robots can and should do–design and development are from the very beginning informed by value-theoretic and cultural research. ISR thus is a form of research organization that integrates robotics with empirical, conceptual, and value-theoretic research in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, and the Human Sciences. The resulting paradigm is user-driven design writ large: research, design, and development of social robotics applications are guided—with multiple feedback—by the reflected normative preferences of a cultural community.
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