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Sophisticated household robots are only just starting to show up in our lives, but all the building blocks for a veritable “Cambrian explosion” of robotics are there, as Gill Pratt described it when he was running the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge. The service robotics industry is emerging, and we will soon be seeing robots of all shapes and sizes making their first forays into our everyday lives.

Alan Winfield introduces the recently published IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems…

interview by   -   December 23, 2016

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In this episode, Christina Brester interviews Vladimir Stanovov, PhD student and researcher at the Siberian State Aerospace University (Krasnoyarsk, Russia). Stanovov speaks about a speech-controlled wheelchair, which seeks to provide people that are quadriplegic, that is people with partial or total loss of use of their limbs and torso, with the possibility to control their wheelchairs through voice commands. In this interview Stanovov discusses the basic parts of the speech-controlled wheelchair, the fuzzy controller he created, and the trials they had in the medical center.

Yueh-Hsuan Weng interviews Prof. Hiroko Kamide about her theory of “One Being for Two Origins”, derived from the teachings of the Buddha, and how her philosophy might impact the emerging field of roboethics.

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For a sci-fi fan like me, fascinated by the nature of human intelligence and the possibility of building life-like robots, it’s always interesting to find a new angle on these questions. As a re-imagining of the original 1970s science fiction film set in a cowboy-themed, hyper-real adult theme park populated by robots that look and act like people, Westworld does not disappoint.

Michael Szollosy at Sheffield Robotics explores many of the themes in the Westworld reboot from a philosophical aspect, and questions what it is to ‘become human.’

interview by   -   August 6, 2016

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In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Fredrik Gustafsson, Professor in Sensor Informatics at Department of Electrical Engineering in Linköping University, about an initiative to reduce poaching in a rhino sanctuary in Ngulia, Kenya. Gustafsson discusses how he first became involved in this project, how he has worked with the rangers to develop solutions, and the future of this work.

by and   -   April 18, 2016

engineering_still_needs_more_women-heroIt’s super hard to find skilled people willing to work for robotics companies in Silicon Valley. Even though robotics is awesome and going to change the world. Because big companies with big paychecks are stealing all the talent. So, you seriously can’t afford to overlook anyone. Yet, judging from the gender ratio at robotics companies, most are overlooking one huge potential talent pool.

interview by   -   August 21, 2015

Transcript included.

In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Dr. Eleanor Sandry of Curtin University about her new book Robots and Communication. In the interview, we explore human to animal communication and what we can learn from it; human to humanoid robots interaction; and human to non-humanoid robots interactions. Also, we discuss Western and Eastern perceptions of robotics.

Imagine the future where your autonomous car can talk to other cars to decrease traffic flow perhaps. How would you feel about your car being a part of such network of autonomous cars?

Should an autonomous car be able to drive around by itself? What if it’s carrying a passenger who is drunk?

Last week we looked at the results of our reader poll on the Tunnel Problem, a moral dilemma that explores an unavoidable life and death scenario involving an autonomous car. Now we’re going more in-depth, to provide you with some insight into the qualitative responses we received.

Autonomous vehicles will be a powerful tool. But they cannot tell us what purpose they will serve. The time to ask is now, before autonomous vehicles become common.

Two weeks ago, we presented the Tunnel Problem, and asked if death by autonomous car is unavoidable, who should die. We also asked who should be responsible for making the decision. See the results from our reader poll.

There may be times when an accident or a death is unavoidable while an autonomous car is controlling the wheel. What should an autonomous car do when such situation arises? How should the designers of the cars program them to respond? This week, we introduce the Tunnel Problem, which describes one such situation and has been a topic of serious debate for philosophers as well as those watching the technology carefully. Let us know what you think by participating in our poll.

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Exploring from a Distance
July 28, 2020


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