Robotic Nudges: The Ethics of Engineering a More Socially Just Human Being

Robots are becoming an increasingly pervasive feature of our personal lives. As a result, there is growing importance placed on examining what constitutes appropriate behavior when they interact with human beings. In this paper, we discuss whether companion robots should be permitted to “nudge” their human users in the direction of being “more ethical”. More…

Lessons learned from the deployment of a long-term autonomous robot as companion in physical therapy for older adults with dementia a mixed methods study

The eldercare sector is a promising deployment area for robotics where robots can support staff and help to bridge the predicted staff-shortage. A requirement analysis showed that one field of robot-deployment could be supporting physical therapy of older adults with advanced dementia. To explore this possibility, a long-term autonomous robot was deployed as a walking…

A history of automatic control

Automatic control, particularly the application of feedback, has been fundamental to the devel- opment of automation. Its origins lie in the level control, water clocks, and pneumatics/hydraulics of the ancient world. From the 17th century on- wards, systems were designed for temperature control, the mechanical control of mills, and the regulation of steam engines. During…

Overriding Ethical Constraints in Lethal Autonomous Systems

This article describes the philosophy, design, and prototype implementation of an operator override system intended for use in managing unmanned robotic systems capable of lethal behavior. The ethical ramifications associated with the responsibility assignment of such a system are presented, which guide the development of the proof-of-concept system that serves as the basis for the…

Automated Killers and the Computing Profession

When will we realize that our artificial intelligence and autonomous-robotics research projects have been harnessed to manufacture killing machines? This is not terminator-style science fiction but grim reality: South Korea and Israel have both deployed armed robot border guards, while other nations--including China, India, Russia, Singapore, and the UK--increasingly use military robots. Fully autonomous robots…

The need for moral competency in autonomous agent architectures

Artificial intelligence and robotics are rapidly advancing in their quest to build truly autonomous agents. In particular, autonomous robots are envisioned to be deployed into our society in the not-so-distant future in many different application domains, ranging from assistive robots for healthcare settings to combat robots on the battlefield. Critically, all these robots will have…

The responsibility gap: Ascribing responsibility for the actions of learning automata

Traditionally, the manufacturer/operator of a machine is held (morally and legally) responsible for the consequences of its operation. Autonomous, learning machines, based on neural networks, genetic algorithms and agent architectures, create a new situation wherein the manufacturer/operator of the machine is in principle not capable of predicting the future machine behaviour anymore, and thus cannot…