Slides for the seminar, Send in the Robots, presented as part of the Adventures in Culture & Technology Seminar series organised by the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University, Western Australia.
Robots are sent into dangerous situations in relation to work, war, disaster and exploration. Some of these robots are completely autonomous, deciding what actions to take based on their perceptions of the environment and knowledge of the task. More often, they are partially controlled by a human operator, and the relationship between the human and robot must be negotiated as it alters from full human control to full robot autonomy and back. Successful human-robot interactions are often understood to rely on the creation of humanoid robots that communicate in humanlike ways. However, the majority of the robots discussed in this seminar are not humanlike in form or communicative style. In spite of this, they form successful multi-skilled teams with humans. How do humans and robots communicate and work together in these contexts? What ethical issues are raised by the formation of these close-knit human-robot teams?