Friendship is an important part of the good life. While many roboticists are eager to create friendlike robots, many philosophers and ethicists are concerned. They argue that robots cannot really be our friends, but can only fake the emotional and behavioral cues we associate with friendship. Consequently, we should resist the drive to create robot friends. In this article, I argue that the philosophical critics are wrong. Using the classic virtue-ideal of friendship, I argue that robots can plausibly be considered our virtue friends—that to do so is philosophically reasonable. Furthermore, I argue that even if robots cannot be our virtue friends, they can fulfil other important friendship roles, and can complement and enhance the virtue friendships between human beings.

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