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Politics, Law & Society

Jordan’s Fifth National Technology Parade. At the parade, university students showcased their grasp of modern technologies with projects spanning renewable energy and water to robotics. Photo Credit: UN Women/Hamza Mazra’awi CC

The Middle East and North Africa’s youthful, fast-urbanizing population are perfectly placed to embrace technology and reap the rewards of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

by   -   May 16, 2017

Professor David Mindell, who researches the interaction between automation and human behavior, discusses the interdependence of people, robots, and infrastructure.

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:

Last week I had the pleasure of debating the question “does AI pose a threat to society?” with friends and colleagues Christian List, Maja Pantic and Samantha Payne. The event was organised by the British Academy and brilliantly chaired by the Royal Society’s director of science policy Claire Craig. Here follows my opening statement:

Researcher Joffrey Becker explores why robots can sometimes appear as strange creatures to us and seeks to better understand people’s tendency to anthropomorphise machines.

Robots are the technology of the future. But the current legal system is incapable of handling them. This generic statement is often the premise for considerations about the possibility of awarding rights (and liabilities) to these machines at some, less-than clearly identified, point in time. Discussing the adequacy of existing regulation in accommodating new technologies is certainly necessary, but the ontological approach is incorrect. Andrea Bertolini explains.

University students experiment with human-robot interaction and autonomous manipulation, two elements of manufacturing’s future. Nikolaus Correll, CC BY-ND

America’s manufacturing heyday is gone, and so are millions of jobs, lost to modernization. Despite what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin might think, the National Bureau of Economic Research and Silicon Valley executives, among many others, know it’s already happening. And a new report from PwC estimates that 38 percent of American jobs are at “high risk” of being replaced by technology within the next 15 years. The ConversationBut how soon automation will replace workers is not the real problem. The real threat to American jobs will come if China does it first.

The law currently recognizes individuals like you and me. Also companies, organizations and governments can negotiate agreements and liability. These non-natural persons are represented by real people (they should be controlled after all). But what about autonomous systems that take over tasks and make intelligent decisions that might be interpreted as a legal act?

While Asimov’s laws are organised around the moral value of preventing harm to humans, they are not easy to interpret. We need to stop viewing them as an adequate ethical basis for robotic interactions with people, argues Tom Sorell.

by   -   March 15, 2017

If you take humans out of the driving seat, could traffic jams, accidents and high fuel bills become a thing of the past? As cars become more automated and connected, attention is turning to how to best choreograph the interaction between the tens or hundreds of automated vehicles that will one day share the same segment of Europe’s road network.

Whether or not an artificial intelligence (AI) ought to be granted patent rights is a timely dilemma given the increasing proliferation of AI in the workplace. Ronald Yu discusses.

25_women_in_robotics_2016

Editor’s note:

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re reposting our latest ‘25 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About‘ list. Over the last four years, Robohub has featured 100 inspiring women leading future developments within robotics, with plenty more for the years to come!

Our next edition will be released on Ada Lovelace Day.

Artificial intelligence (AI) already plays a major role in human economies and societies, and it will play an even bigger role in the coming years. To ponder the future of AI is thus to acknowledge that the future is AI. But how bright is that future? Or how dark?

by   -   February 22, 2017

Robotics undoubtedly has the potential to improve lives in the developing world. However, with limited budgets and expertise on the ground, putting this technology in place is no small task. Step forwards WeRobotics, a new Swiss/American NGO dedicated to meeting this goal through the creation of in-country ‘flying labs’. Co-founder Adam Klaptocz explains all.

by   -   February 22, 2017

If a machine can think, decide and act on its own volition, if it can be harmed or held responsible for its actions, should we stop treating it like property and start treating it more like a person with rights?



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


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