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Tag : ethics


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by   -   March 7, 2014

What does it mean to have giants like Google, Apple and Amazon investing in robotics? Since last December, Google alone has acquired a handful of companies in robotics, home automation and artificial intelligence. This can be pretty exciting for robotics. But what exactly is the internet giant planning to do with this technology? Is there something we should be worried about? If there is, what can we do about it?


by   -   February 12, 2014

We have reasons to feel both excited and uneasy about giant corporations’ investment in robotics.

It’s exciting for the robotics community that the giants (Google, Apple, and Amazon) are actively investing in robotics.


by   -   January 15, 2014

chip_brain_cyborg

 

cy·borg  -  ˈsīˌbôrg/ - noun

a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body

This month we asked our Robotics by Invitation experts to tell how they would use robotics to enhance themselves. Here’s what they have to say …


by   -   January 15, 2014

As a researcher in robotics, I tend to cringe whenever someone asks how long it will take until people start to see terminator-like robots on the streets. It’s a fun question to think about, but it is often asked with all too much seriousness, as though the world with terminators is the inevitable future that lies ahead of us.

But when I was asked this month’s Robotics by Invitation question, I gladly put on my imagination hat without much hesitation or cringing. Part of it might have something to do with the fact that no one will come after me and ask “so, when do you think that kind of technology will be available in the future?” So I felt very much free to let my imagination do what it does best.

The first thing that crossed my mind was a vision or an idea Mr. John S. Canning of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division had discussed many years ago (in 2009 I believe) at a talk he titled “A Concept of Operations for Armed Autonomous Systems”. After thirty-something powerpoint slides, he summarized the talk with “Let the machines target machines – not people”. I think it’s a cool notion to think about building robots that are not built as ultimate killing machines, but built as the ultimate weapon-neutralizing machines. Imagine that, instead of targeted killing of humans, you send robots for targeted neutralization of weapons?

After coming across that summary, I remember thinking how useful it would be if I had an expandable, hidden robotic device implanted on my forearm, such that when I (if ever) need to go neutralize someone’s weapon, or protect myself from someone attacking me (for whatever reason), the device will automatically activate, expand into a bullet-proof shield, and help me detect dangerous weapons in the area to neutralize. If it comes with a mini jet-pack that allows me to fly, that’s even better. I’d be the ultimate superwoman whose day-job is to do research in robotics, but with a side job to fly to random places and help out with conflict situations. Ok, that sounds like a plot from a comic book.

inspector_gadget2Some of you might think I sound like I’m dreaming to be a female version of Iron Man. But I am thinking of something more subtle (at least while the device isn’t activated), like the Inspector Gadget (for those of you who don’t know him, Inspector Gadget was a cartoon character that could hide all of his cyborg gadgetry inside his trench coat). I would look just like a normal person, except that, when necessary, my ‘implanted devices’ would activate to serve whatever various purposes I need.

That’s only if you are asking me about implants. But if you are asking me about robotic accessories, then that’s a whole different story. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a foldable and light pocket-sized device that you could carry with you while travelling (or grocery shopping), so that when you don’t want to carry heavy things, you could just activate it, and it would become a full sized stair-climber and a follow-bot? It would have come in very handy if I had such a device during my trip to Europe, hopping between trains and planes with my luggage. I don’t think I’d use anything bigger or heavier than my purse for this purpose, because that defeats the purpose.

Anyone have one of these available for testing yet?

Read more answers →


by   -   December 11, 2013

2013 was a year filled with talk of drones.

I’m not saying this just because I’m biased by the recent news reporting on how large companies (AmazonDHL, and UPS to be exact) are exploring the use of drones as a new delivery mechanism. If this is news to you, don’t worry. The robotics community came across this only a couple of weeks ago.


by   -   November 29, 2013

In this episode, AJung Moon talks to Julie Carpenter, a recent graduate of the University of Washington who interviewed 23 U.S. Military Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel to find out how they interact with everyday field robots. Julie is currently writing a book on the topic that is scheduled to be published next year.


by   -   November 19, 2013

I’ve been talking about robot ethics for several years now, but that’s mostly been about how we roboticists must be responsible and mindful of the societal impact of our creations. Two years ago I wrote – in my Very Short Introduction to Robotics - that robots cannot be ethical. Since then I’ve completely changed my mind*. I now think there is a way of making a robot that is at least minimally ethical. It’s a huge technical challenge which, in turn, raises new ethical questions. For instance: if we can build ethical robots, should we? Must we..? Would we have an ethical duty to do so? After all, the alternative would be to build amoral robots. Or, would building ethical robots create a new set of ethical problems? An ethical Pandora’s box.



by   -   October 6, 2013

Classic image of Luddites destroying automated loom.

Posting on the Slate blog Future Tense, James Bessen takes issue with the notion that technology causes unemployment, illustrating his point by debunking a pair of frequently cited examples, textile workers in the early nineteenth century and telephone operators during the mid-twentieth century.

In a response titled “Luddites Are Almost Always Wrong: Technology Rarely Destroys Jobs” on TechDirt’s Innovation blog, Bessen’s thesis is roundly applauded, but he is taken to task for failure to make the connection between the process which prevents net job destruction (the creation of new jobs) and reasonable access to intellectual property, currently endangered by nonpracticing patent owners (a.k.a. “patent trolls”).


by   -   July 20, 2013

Global Future 2045, held June 15-16 in New York City, had a big impact on me.

The double-message promotion of GF2045 was intriguing and I thought it would be similarly interesting to my readers. PR stories featured the host, a wealthy young Russian, who wanted to discuss life-extension technologies, in effect, transhumanism. Two different tracts were advertised: (1) We should think about and discuss the ramifications of the technological transformations of humanity under way or likely to happen in the next 30 years, and (2) He commissioned a human-like intelligent robot in his likeness with terabytes of his personal data and this was to be presented at the show.



by   -   May 22, 2013

Call for Proposals (closes May 27)
Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference
October 11-13, 2013
NYU School of Law


by   -   May 21, 2013

On April 8-9, Stanford Law School held the second annual robotics and law conference, We Robot. This year’s event focused on near-term policy issues in robotics and featured panels and papers by scholars, practitioners, and engineers on topics like intellectual property, tort liability, legal ethics, and privacy. The full program is here.


by   -   May 17, 2013

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

In this episode, AJung talks to Peter Asaro from The New School in New York city about autonomous weapons systems. Peter tells us about the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an international consortium of NGOs working together to ban autonomous weapons systems. You can read our full coverage of the campaign here, or have a look at our special focus series on robots and warfare.