Call: Machine Medical Ethics, Edited Collection, 2014

Call for Chapters: Machine Medical Ethics, Edited Collection, 2014

You are warmly invited to submit your research chapter for possible inclusion in an edited collection entitled Machine Medical Ethics. Target publication date: 2014.

The new field of Artificial Intelligence called Machine Ethics is concerned with ensuring that the behaviour of machines towards human users and other machines is ethical. This unique edited collection aims to provide an interdisciplinary platform for researchers in this field to present new research and developments in Machine Medical Ethics. Areas of interest for this edited collection include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Foundational Concepts

What is medical ethics?

What is machine medical ethics?
What are the consequences of creating or not creating ethical medical machines?
Can medical machines be autonomous?
Ought medical machines to operate autonomously, or under (complete or partial) human physician control?

Theories of Machine Medical Ethics

What theories of machine medical ethics are most theoretically plausible and most empirically supported?

Ought machine medical ethics be rule-based (top-down), case- based (bottom-up), or a hybrid view of both top-down and bottom-up?
Is an interdisciplinary approach suited to designing a machine medical ethical theory? (e.g., collaboration between philosophy, psychology, AI, computational neuroscience…)

Medical Machine Training

What does ethical training for medical machines consist in: ethical principles, ethical theories, or ethical skills? Is a hybrid approach best?

What training regimes currently tested and/or used are most successful?
Can ethically trained medical machines become unethical?
Can a medical machine learn empathy (caring) and skills relevant to the patient-physician relationship?
Can a medical machine learn to give an apology for a medical error?
Ought medical machines to be trained to detect and respond to patient embarrassment and/or issues of patient privacy? What social norms are relevant for training?
Ought medical machines to be trained to show sensitivity to gender, cultural and age-differences?
Ought machines to teach medicine and medical ethics to human medical students?

Patient-Machine-Physician Relationship

What role ought imitation or mimicry to play in the patient-machine-physician relationship?

What role ought empathy or caring to play in the patient-machine-physician relationship?
What skills are necessary to maintain a good patient-machine-physician relationship?
Ought medical machines be able to detect patient fakery and malingering?
Under what conditions ought medical machines to operate with a nurse?
In what circumstances should a machine physician consult with human or other machine physicians regarding patient assessment or diagnosis?

Medical Machine Physical Appearance

Is there a correlation between physical appearance and physician trustworthiness?

Ought medical machines to appear human or non-human?
Is a highly plastic human-like face essential to medical machines? Or, is a static face sufficient?
What specific morphological facial features ought medical machines to have?
Ought medical machines to be gendered or androgynous?
Ought medical machines to possess a human-like body with mobile limbs?
What vocal characteristics ought medical machines to have?

As a new field, the target audiences are expected to be scientists, researchers, and practitioners working in machine ethics and medical ethics. The target audience will also include various stakeholders, like academics, research institutes, and individuals interested in this field, and the huge audience in the public sector comprising health service providers, government agencies, ministries, education institutions, social service providers and other types of government, commercial and not-for-profit agencies.

Please indicate your intention to submit your full paper by email to one of the editors with the title of the paper, author(s), and abstract. The full manuscript, as PDF file, should be emailed to that same editor by the deadline indicated below. Authoring guidelines will be mailed to you after we receive your letter of intent.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the editors, Simon van Rysewyk or Dr. Matthijs Pontier. Many thanks!


Intent to Submit: June 10, 2013
Full Version: October 20, 2013

Decision Date: November 10, 2013
Final Version: December 31, 2013
Target Publication Date of Book: 2014


Simon van Rysewyk

School of Humanities
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 41
Tasmania 7001


Dr. Mattjis Pontier

Post-Doctoral Researcher
The Centre for Advanced Media Research (CAMeRA)
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Buitenveldertselaan 3
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands


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