Children’s Developing Beliefs About Agency and Free Will in an Increasingly Technological World
The idea of treating robots as free agents seems only to have existed in the realm of science fiction. In our current world, however, children are interacting with robotic technologies that look, talk, and act like agents. Are children willing to treat such technologies as agents with thoughts, feelings, experiences, and even free will? In this paper, we explore whether children’s developing concepts of agency and free will apply to robots. We first review the literature on children’s agency and free-will beliefs, particularly looking at their beliefs about volition, responding to constraints, and deliberation about different options for action. We then review an emerging body of research that investigates children’s beliefs about agency and free will in robots. We end by discussing the implications for developing beliefs about agency and free will in an increasingly technological world.
Copyright (c) 2022 Teresa M Flanagan, Tamar Kushnir
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