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Alan Winfield

NAO robot. Photo courtesy: Paul Bremner/UWE

I was asked to write a short op-ed on the European Parliament Law Committee’s recommendations on civil law rules for robotics. In the end, the piece didn’t get published, so I am posting it here:

by   -   August 24, 2016

AlanWinfieldRobots 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.


When I was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in 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.

by   -   April 12, 2016

regulation_google-buggy_car_autonomous_robocar-(1)Sooner or later there will be fatal accident caused by a driverless car. It’s not a question of if, but when. What happens immediately following that accident could have a profound effect on the nascent driverless car industry.

by   -   January 27, 2015

Robotics has the potential to be hugely beneficial to society, but is too important to leave to free-market capitalism.

by   -   December 18, 2014

If you write papers with results based on simulation and submit them for peer-review, then be warned: if I should review your paper then I will probably recommend it is rejected. Why? Because all of the many simulation-based papers I’ve reviewed in the last couple of years have been flawed.

by   -   December 1, 2014

We asked Alan Winfield what the first successful landing on a comet means for the future of space mining. Find out his answer below.

by   -   October 17, 2014

It may eventually be possible for a human to experience something approaching what it is like to be a robot.

by   -   September 30, 2014

We set out to experimentally test our robot with a consequence engine, and ended up building a minimally ethical robot which – remarkably – appears to implement Asimov’s first and third laws of robotics.

by   -   September 9, 2014

This is not what you might describe as a high-speed contest. The robots walk to take a kick or a tackle and, really, waddle might be a more apt word for their approach. But the game is far from boring …

by   -   September 8, 2014

For a couple of years I’ve been thinking about robots with internal models. Not internal models in the classical control-theory sense, but simulation-based models; robots with a simulation of themselves and their environment inside themselves, where that environment could contain other robots or, more generally, dynamic actors.

by   -   September 2, 2014

If you can tell me what feelings are, I’ll tell you whether a robot can have them or not.


Want to create human-equivalent AI? Well, broadly speaking, there are three approaches open to you: design it, reverse-engineer it or evolve it. The third of these – artificial evolution – is attractive because it sidesteps the troublesome problem of having to understand how human intelligence works.

IASP 2016 (Part 2 of 3): Trik Embedded Platform
May 13, 2017

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