Robots and their impact on the economy is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Will robots increase productivity and jobs, improve society, and will wealth be shared? To address this question, we’ll be talking to three European Experts about the robot economy. In today’s interview, we sat down with Alan Winfield, Professor at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, and expert in robot regulation and ethics. He is often invited to discuss the role of robots in society, including at the World Economic Forum, the Royal Society, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
At the recent AUVSI/TRB conference in San Francisco, there was talk of upcoming regulation, particularly from NHTSA. Secretary of Transportation Foxx and his NHTSA staff spoke with just vague hints about what might come in the proposals due this fall. Generally, they said good things, namely that they are wary of slowing down the development of the technology. But they said things that suggest other directions.
Robin Chase wrote an article wondering if robocars will improve or ruin our cities and asked for my comment on it. It’s a long article, and I have lots of comment, since I have been considering these issues for a while. On this site, I spend most of my time on the potential positive future, though I have written various articles on downsides and there are yet more to write about.
Robin’s question has been a popular one of late, in part a reaction by urban planners who are finally starting to think more deeply on the topic and reacting to the utopian visions sometimes presented. I am guilty of such visions, though not as guilty as some. We are all seduced in part by excitement of what’s possible in a world where most or all cars are robocars — a world that is not coming for several decades, if in our lifetimes at all. It’s fair to look at the topic from both sides, as no technology is 100% good.
Future Socially Assistive Robots (SARs) should be safe, but patients also have a right to privacy, liberty and social contact. The survey investigates, in a hypothetical scenario, how Annie’s SAR should prioritise tasks, asking to indicate in how far Annie’s privacy and autonomy can be violated in the interest of her well-being. The survey is designed to investigate how variable people’s opinions are and to understand whether respondents agree on a set of behavioural rules in this hypothetical scenario.
At the recent AUVSI/TRB symposium, a popular research topic was platooning for robocars and trucks. Platooning is perhaps the oldest practical proposal when it comes to car automation because you can have the lead vehicle driven by a human, even a specially trained one, and thus, resolve all the problems that come from road situations too complex for software to easily handle.
When I was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programmein 2014, Justin Webb’s final question was, “If you can make an ethical robot, doesn’t that mean you could make an unethical robot?” The answer, of course, is yes. But at the time, I didn’t realise quite how easy it is to transform a robot from ethical to unethical. In a new paper, we show how.
Today, I want to look at some implications of Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux which caused some buzz this week. The one part of the plan that I have trouble with is the idea of combining solar generation with battery storage.
Stories about racist Twitter accounts and crashing self-driving cars can make us think that artificial intelligence (AI) is a work in progress. But while these headline-grabbing mistakes reveal the frontiers of AI, versions of this technology are already invisibly embedded in many systems that we use everyday.
A variety of robots and tools are being created to solve one specific piece of the environmental climate change crisis. Together, the engineers who develop them and the bots doing the work will be able to make a difference and lessen the impact of human activity destroying the planet.
The cell phone ride hail apps like Uber and Lyft are now reporting great success with actual ride-sharing, under the names UberPool, LyftLines and Lyft Carpool. In addition, a whole new raft of apps to enable semi-planned and planned carpooling are out making changes.
Ever since Elon Musk’s recent admission that he’s a simulationist, several people have asked me what I think of the proposition that we are living inside a simulation. My view is very firmly that the Universe we are right now experiencing is real. Here are my reasons.
Brad Templeton describes Tesla’s Autopilot as a ‘distant cousin of a real robocar’ that primarily uses a MobilEye EyeQ3 camera combined with radars and ultrasonic sensors. Unlike robocar sensors, Tesla doesn’t have a lidar or use a map to help it understand the road and environment.
At Starship, we announced our first pilot projects for robotic delivery which will begin operating this summer. We’ll be working with a London food delivery startup Pronto as well as German parcel company Hermes and the Metro Group of retailers, plus Just Eat restaurant food delivery to trial on-your-schedule delivery of packages, groceries and meals to people’s homes.
In this article, Brad Templeton provides a rundown of different approaches for validation of self-driving and driver assist systems, a recommendation to Tesla and others to have countermeasures to detect drivers not watching the road, and permanently disable their Autopilot if they show a pattern of inattention.