Robots and Human Rights, Policies and Ethical Standards Discussed at Conference Hosted by University of Turku

Could there be robot rights comparable to the rights of humans?

What policies and ethical standards currently exist?

These pressing questions and others were addressed during the conference Robot and AI ethics: Dialogue between Europe and East Asia, held at the University of Turku between 12:00 – 16:00 on 22 November 2018. The event was free and open to the public to attend.

The University of Turku is a member institution of the Finnish China Law Center.

Background to the conference

According to the event organizers, East Asian countries are among the most advanced in the utilization of robots and the development of AI. Robots are already deeply embedded in the Japanese society, South Korea’s industry is the most robotized in the world, and China aims to become an AI super power by 2030.​

Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are rapidly transforming our societies. While robotics is quickly advancing, discussions on fundamental ethical issues, laws and policies lag seriously behind (and are far from being solved). These issues range from end-of-life decisions taken by engineers to defining human-robot relationships. While there has been an emerging literature on ethical challenges of robots and AI, little comparative research has been done on European and East Asian perspectives in this debate. ​

The aim of this event was to bring together scholars and practitioners from East Asia and Europe to discuss general perspectives and attitudes towards robots and AI as well as ethical aspects. The focus was on technology that already has practical applications, and thus is affecting our societies the most, like self-driving cars and care robots.

The event organizers were the Centre for East Asian Studies in cooperation with the discipline of Philosophy, the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Turku and the Turku AI Society.

For more information

Please contact University lecturer Sabine Burghart at sabine.burghart[at] or University lecturer Outi Luova at outi.luova[at]