Robots in society: Overview and emerging scenariosDetailed programme
The role of robots is evolving rapidly from their industrial manufacturing roots to a wide variety of service applications where close human-robot interaction is needed. A key feature of robots is that they possess a “degree of autonomy” and hence can have the capability to make independent decisions for fulfilling their intended task. Good examples are physical assistant robots which are “personal care robots that physically assist a user to perform required tasks by providing supplementation or augmentation of personal capabilities”, these are planned to help with personal mobility for maintaining independence and quality of life of elderly persons. Other examples include medical robots for surgery, or rehabilitation of patients or provide support to disabled persons (such as mobility of amputees or education of children with autism). Even driverless cars and drones can come under the “robotics agenda”. How the new emerging robots and their autonomous capabilities should be introduced in the various applications is causing a variety of concerns relating to safety, ethics and law.
Professor Alan Winfield
Bristol Robotics Laboratory & Science Communication Unit
University of the West of England, Bristol
In general technology is trusted if it brings benefits while also safe, well regulated and, when accidents happen, subject to robust investigation. One of the reasons we trust airliners is that we know they are part of a highly regulated industry with an excellent safety record. The reason commercial aircraft are so safe is not just good design, it is also the tough safety certification processes and, when things do go wrong, robust processes of air accident investigation. Should driverless cars, for instance, be regulated through a body similar to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), with a driverless car equivalent of the Air Accident Investigation Branch? Regulation requires regulatory bodies, linked with public engagement to provide transparency and confidence in the robustness of regulatory processes. In this talk I will make the argument that ethical governance is essential to building public trust, and outline a framework for ethical governance in robotics.
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BCS The Chartered Institute for IT, promotes wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information technology science and practice (see www.bcs.org).
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CLAWAR is a UK registered charity with the mission: “The advancement of education and science for the public benefit in the field of robotics and associated technologies” (see www.clawar.org)