A.L. van Wynsberghe, Ma

Aimee van Wynsberghe

Department of Philosophy

University of Twente
Postbox 217
7500 AE Enschede

Telephone: +31-53-489 4073

Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Technology at the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente.

Over the last five years I have dedicated my studies to applied ethics in the design and analysis of robots and related ICT systems. Most notably my theoretical focus has centered on care ethics and bioethics as they relate to technologies in healthcare. I completed  both my PhD and post-doctoral studies at the University of Twente in the same department. My PhD was supervised by Prof Dr. Philip Brey and was nominated for the Georges Giralt Award for Best PhD thesis in robotics in Europe. This is a huge honour given that the award is normally given to scholars from the technical disciplines. In my thesis, entitled “Designing Robots with Care: Creating an ethical framework for the future design and implementation of care robots”, I addressed robots intended to be designed for nurses in their role as care giver. These robots are hoped to help with the increase in care demands of society on healthcare systems across the globe. Alongside the foreseen benefits there are a variety of ethical concerns related to this emerging technology. Such issues include; how the standard or quality of care might change when human nurses are no longer the sole care providers or how this technology might displace care workers from their role as the stewards of care? I do not claim that care robots (robots in healthcare) should be made and used for any care purpose but I also do not claim that care robots should never be made or used. Instead, my goal has been to explore the ethical limits within which these robots can be made and used. To do this I have created a novel framework for their design and implementation (Care Centered Value Sensitive Design) that relies on the care ethics tradition along with the Value-Sensitive Design approach. The hope is that by steering the design of this technology in a manner that incorporates care values into the technical content of the care robot, robot designers can avoid the majority of negative ethical concerns or risks. My PhD thesis has been accepted for publication with Ashgate publishers and will be available for purchase before 2015!

During my post-doctoral studies as Ethics Adviser for CTIT (Center for Telecommunications and Information Technology) I continued to address the same interdisciplinary and practical ethics questions from my PhD; however, during this time I broadened the technology of interest to include a range of ICT issues. During that time I worked closely with the researchers in the process of designing and creating products. Together we worked to uncover the values related to their work and how values were embedded into their research approach or the resulting product of their research. This work has led to the creation of frameworks for incorporating ethics into the collection of data from online file sharing sites as well as online social networking sites. The main topic of interest has been to address the issues facing internet security researchers and how they can incorporate ethics into their own work. Working in a truly interdisciplinary manner I have published three articles with computer scientists, two of which have won awards. Aside from this I have also written about the role of the ethicist in such a working environment.

My research interests in include: normative ethics, practical ethics, values in design, embedded values, care ethics, robot ethics, responsible research and innovation, and interdisciplinary studies.

Selected Publications

Van Wynsberghe, A (2014) The Good Ethicist as Designer. International Journal of Technoethics. Forthcoming.

Van Wynsberghe, A (2014) To delegate or not to delegate: care robots, moral agency and moral responsibility. Machine Ethics in the Context of Medical and Care Agents, Conference proceedings.

Van Wynsberghe, A and van der Ham, J (2014) Ethical Considerations of Using Information Obtained from Online File Sharing Sites: the case of the Pirate Bay. Ethicomp, Conference Proceedings.

Van Wynsberghe, A (2013) A Method for Integrating Ethics into the Design Process of Robots. Industrial Robot40(5).

Van Wynsberghe, A. Robbins, S. (2013) Ethicist as Designer: a pragmatic approach to ethics in the lab. Science and Engineering Ethics, available online.

Van Wynsberghe A. (2013) Designing Care Robots for Care: Care Centered Value-Sensitive Design. Science and Engineering Ethics.

Van Wynsberghe, A. Been, H and van Keulen M. (2013) To use or not to use: guidelines for researchers using data obtained from online social networking sites. Framework for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT (FRRICT) Observatory, Oxford University, UK.

Van Wynsberghe, A and Moura G. (2013) The Embedded Values Concept and the Example of Internet Security.Framework for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT (FRRICT) Observatory, Oxford University, UK.

Van Wynsberghe, A., Gastmans, C. (2009) Telepsychiatry and the meaning of in-person contact: an ethical appraisal. International Journal of Medicine, Philosophy and Healthcare, 12(4)469-76.

Van Koughnett JA, Jayaraman S, Eagleson R, Quan D, van Wynsberghe A and Schlachta C. (2009) Are there advantages to robotic-assisted surgery over laparoscopy from the surgeon’s perspective? Journal of Robotic Surgery 3:70-82.

Van Wynsberghe, A., Gastmans, C. (2008) Telesurgery: an Ethical Appraisal. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34:e22.


Van Wynsberghe, A. (2014) Robots in Healthcare: design, development and implementation. Ashgate Publishers.

Book Chapters

Van Wynsberghe, A. (2013) Robots in Healthcare: philosophical insights on the impact of robots on the healthcare tradition. Published in: Komt een filosoof bij de dokter. Editors: Maartje Schermer, Marianne Boenink & Gerben Meynen. Boom, Amsterdam.

Rayman, Reiza, Primak, S., Patel, R., ... van Wynsberghe et al. (2005). Effects of latency on telesurgery: an experimental study. In Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention–MICCAI 2005 (pp. 57–64). Springer.

Invited Addresses (Selected)

Guest presenter, Radboud University, Nijmegen, “Implementing Care Robots, Realizing Care Values”, April 2013.

Guest presenter, COMMIT research days, “To Use or not to use: when and for what can researchers use data obtained from online social networking sites”, April 2013.

Guest presenter, Technical Medicine Student Symposium, University of Twente, “New healthcare technologies, new frontiers... new ethical dilemmas”, April 2013.

Guest presenter, 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology, “Designing Robots with Care”, April, 2012

Guest presenter for NVBe (Dutch Society for Bioethics), “Designing Care Robots for Care”, March, 2012.

Guest speaker for Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Group on Bioethics, Dec 7, 2011, “A Framework for Integrating Ethics in the Design Process of Care Robots”. URL:

“Ethics and Care Robots”, presentation for KIVI (The Royal Institute for Engineers in the Netherlands) lecture series, Nov 2011.