Roboethics: Philosophical,
Social and Ethical
Implications of Robotics
Gianmarco Veruggio
Director of Research, Italian Na...
From Industrial Robotics to Service Robotics
About 16,100 service robots for professional use were sold in 2012,
2% more t...
Service Robotics Overview
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Field robotics
Professional cleaning
Inspection and maintenance systems...
ELSA - Ethical, Legal,Societal Aspects
© Robocop 2014

The end of robot’s segregation era means new technical and
Ethical,...
General Technical Issues
Traditional technical issues common to all the machines:

5
Advanced Robotics Technical Issues
New technical issues arising from:
• HW/SW Complexity
• Autonomy
• Uncertainty, derivin...
Advanced Robotics ELS issues
Ethical, Legal and Societal issues:
• Replacement of human beings (economic problems; human
u...
Robotics: a new science?
Robotics is born from…
•Mechanics
•Electrical Engineering
•Electronics
•Automation
•Cybernetics
•...
Robots in Human History
Robots come from an ancient mith
and vision: the word "automation"
is the latinization of the Gree...
The History of Automatons
In the reality Heron of Alexandria (c. 10 – 70 AD) was an ancient
Greek mathematician and engine...
The birth of Robots in Literature
The first automaton called "robots", are the mechanical slaves in
the play R.U.R. (Rossu...
Human tendency to Anthropomorphization
Giving human characteristics to animals, inanimate objects or
natural phenomena is ...
The Pinocchio Syndrome
I coined the definition ―Pinocchio Syndrome‖ to describe this
trait of human psychology applied to ...
Pay Attention to the Flaws in Reasoning!
DOGS have four legs,
The THING that I see here has four legs,
therefore
The THING...
From Science Fiction…
Isaac Asimov wrote the famous Three Laws of Robotics (1942):

1. A robot may not injure a human bein...
… to Reality!
The main applications field of robotics today is Defence: about
6,600 service robots in defence applications...
Which way for Robotics?

―Would you tell me please, which way
I ought to go from here?‖ asked Alice.
―That depends a good ...
Roboethics Definition

“Roboethics is an applied ethics whose objective is to
develop scientific/cultural/technical tools ...
The Birth of Roboethics
The School of Robotics organized the
First International Symposium on
Roboethics, 30-31 January 20...
Disambiguation

ROBOETHICS

ROBOT ETHICS

ROBOT’S ETHICS

20
What is Roboethics
The first level is represented by the adopted ethical theories,
developed principally by the branch of ...
What is Robot Ethics
The second level, currently referred to as ―Robot Ethics‖, or
―Machine Ethics‖, regards the code of c...
What is Robot’s Ethics
Finally, there is a third level, which we could perhaps define as
―Robot’s Ethics‖, because it is t...
Roboethics Taxonomy
 Humanoids
Artificial Mind, Artificial Body

 Advanced production systems
Industrial robotics

 Ada...
Focus on Military Robotics
In this field are comprised all the devices resulting from the
development of the traditional s...
Robot Soldiers
Robot Soldiers: Eventually humanoids may be employed to
substitute humans in performing ―sensitive‖ tasks a...
Superhuman
Superhuman: there are several projects aimed at developing a
superhuman soldier. Actually, the human body canno...
Benefits
The claimed benefits of military robots are:
a) Tactical/Operational strength superiority;
b) Better performances...
Issues
Main problems could arise from:
a) the inadequacy to manage the unstructured complexity of a
hostile scenario;
b) t...
Under Spotlight: USA Drones
These vehicles are known as ―autonomous combat flying
vehicles‖ (ACFVs), or more commonly as ―...
Drone ELS Issues
The ELS issues arising from the use of drones, both in civil and
military field, include the following:

...
Collateral Damages
Despite the increasing success of this technology, military
hierarchies feel concerned about potential ...
Push-Button War
Drones flying over Afghanistan or various targets in Africa are
controlled from Creech Air Force Base (nea...
Undeclared Wars
Drones are used to attack suspected terrorists in countries that
(officially) are not at war with the US. ...
Lack of International Conventions or Agreements
It is clear that military robots are here and they have changed the
nature...
The Basic and Underlying Etical Issue

Prior to discussing
―when, how, and where‖,
we should decide
―IF‖
a fully autonomou...
NO “Licence to Kill” to Robots

37
Thank You!

Contact Information:
Gianmarco VERUGGIO
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Istituto di Elettronica e di Ingegn...
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Gianmarco Veruggio. Roboethics on Skolkovo Robotics

  1. 1. Roboethics: Philosophical, Social and Ethical Implications of Robotics Gianmarco Veruggio Director of Research, Italian National Research Council Istituto di Elettronica e di Ingegneria dell'Informazione e delle Telecomunicazioni Honorary President of Scuola di Robotica
  2. 2. From Industrial Robotics to Service Robotics About 16,100 service robots for professional use were sold in 2012, 2% more than in 2011, reports IFR Statistical Department in the new study "World Robotics 2013 - Service Robots‖. 2
  3. 3. Service Robotics Overview • • • • • • • • • • • • Field robotics Professional cleaning Inspection and maintenance systems Construction and demolition Logistic systems Medical robotics Defense, rescue & security applications Underwater systems Mobile Platforms in general use Robot arms in general use Public relation robots Humanoids 3
  4. 4. ELSA - Ethical, Legal,Societal Aspects © Robocop 2014 The end of robot’s segregation era means new technical and Ethical, Legal and Societal (ELS) issues arising from robotic invasion in human society. 4
  5. 5. General Technical Issues Traditional technical issues common to all the machines: 5
  6. 6. Advanced Robotics Technical Issues New technical issues arising from: • HW/SW Complexity • Autonomy • Uncertainty, deriving from the unstructured and chaotic real environment. • Unpredictability of learning machines; • Traceability of evaluation/actions procedures. • Identification of robots. • Cyber security 6
  7. 7. Advanced Robotics ELS issues Ethical, Legal and Societal issues: • Replacement of human beings (economic problems; human unemployment; social instability); • Digital divide; • Generational divide; • Lack of legislation; • Privacy; • Psychological problems (deviations in human emotions, problems of attachment, disorganization in children, fears, panic, confusion between real and artificial, feeling of subordination towards robots) 7
  8. 8. Robotics: a new science? Robotics is born from… •Mechanics •Electrical Engineering •Electronics •Automation •Cybernetics •Computer Science •Artificial Intelligence •Information Technology …and it draws some elements from: •Physics/Math •Logic/Linguistics •Neuroscience/Psychology •Biology/Physiology •Anthropology/Philosophy •Art/Industrial Design Robotics Gestalt The whole is greater than the sum of the parts! 8
  9. 9. Robots in Human History Robots come from an ancient mith and vision: the word "automation" is the latinization of the Greek αὐτόματον, automaton, "acting of one’s own will". This word was first used by Homer (8th century BC) to describe automatic door opening, or automatic movement of wheeled tripods. He narrated about metallic statues made animate by the divine smith Hephaistos and manufactured by the great Athenian craftsman Daedalus. 9
  10. 10. The History of Automatons In the reality Heron of Alexandria (c. 10 – 70 AD) was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineer who wrote the book ―Automata‖, a description of machines which enable wonders in temples by mechanical or pneumatical means (e.g. automatic opening or closing of temple doors, statues that pour wine, etc.). The story of automatons continues until 19th Century (the period 1860 to 1910 is known as "The Golden Age of Automata‖) The Writer by Pierre Jaquet-Droz Tea Serving Doll by TAMAYA Shobei IX 10
  11. 11. The birth of Robots in Literature The first automaton called "robots", are the mechanical slaves in the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek. When the play premiered in 1921, it introduced the word into the world's vocabulary. And few years later, in 1928, Fritz Lang created the character of Maria/Robotrix in his movie Metropolis. 11
  12. 12. Human tendency to Anthropomorphization Giving human characteristics to animals, inanimate objects or natural phenomena is a human trait called ―to anthropomorphize.‖ The term ανθρωπομορυισμός (anthropomorphism) was coined by the Greek philosopher Xenophanes (c. 570 – c. 475 BC) when describing the similarity between religious believers and their gods (that is, Greek gods were depicted having light skin and blue eyes while African gods had dark skin and brown eyes). Anthropomorphism carries many important implications. For example, thinking of a nonhuman entity in human ways renders it worthy of moral care and consideration. In addition, anthropomorphized entities become responsible for their own actions — that is, they become deserving of punishment and reward. 12
  13. 13. The Pinocchio Syndrome I coined the definition ―Pinocchio Syndrome‖ to describe this trait of human psychology applied to automata/robots, which are considered sub-human beings who will evolve into humans. The Adventures of Pinocchio Carlo Collodi, 1883 A.I. Artificial Intelligence Steven Spielberg, 2001 13
  14. 14. Pay Attention to the Flaws in Reasoning! DOGS have four legs, The THING that I see here has four legs, therefore The THING that I see here is a DOG! ? 14
  15. 15. From Science Fiction… Isaac Asimov wrote the famous Three Laws of Robotics (1942): 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. 15
  16. 16. … to Reality! The main applications field of robotics today is Defence: about 6,600 service robots in defence applications account for 40% of the total number of service robots for professional use sold in 2011. The value of defence robots can only roughly be estimated. It was about US$ 748 million, 3% higher than in 2010. Thereof, about 28,000 robots for defence applications will be sold in the period 2013-2016. They are followed by milking robots with about 24,500 units. These two service robot groups make up 55% of the total forecast of service robots. (IFR 2013) 16
  17. 17. Which way for Robotics? ―Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?‖ asked Alice. ―That depends a good deal on where you want to get to‖ said the Cat. 17
  18. 18. Roboethics Definition “Roboethics is an applied ethics whose objective is to develop scientific/cultural/technical tools that can be shared by different social groups and beliefs. These tools aim to promote and encourage the development of Robotics for the advancement of human society and individuals, and to help preventing its misuse against humankind.” (Veruggio, 2002) 18
  19. 19. The Birth of Roboethics The School of Robotics organized the First International Symposium on Roboethics, 30-31 January 2004, Villa Nobel, Sanremo, Italy Philosophers, jurists, sociologists, anthropologist and moralists, together with robotic scientists, were called to contribute to lay the foundations of the Roboethics: the Ethics in the design, development and employment of the Intelligent Machines. 19
  20. 20. Disambiguation ROBOETHICS ROBOT ETHICS ROBOT’S ETHICS 20
  21. 21. What is Roboethics The first level is represented by the adopted ethical theories, developed principally by the branch of philosophy called ethics or morality, which studies human conduct, moral assessments and the concepts of good and evil, right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is the proper concept of ―Roboethics‖, meaning applied ethics that attempts to provide answers to new questions that are generated by the progress of robotics. This level updates the various views on concepts such as dignity and integrity of the person and the fundamental rights of the individual, as well as the social, psychological and legal aspects involved. 21
  22. 22. What is Robot Ethics The second level, currently referred to as ―Robot Ethics‖, or ―Machine Ethics‖, regards the code of conduct that designers implement in the Artificial Intelligence of robots. This means a sort of Artificial Ethics able to guarantee that autonomous robots will exhibit ethically acceptable behavior. It is clear that the guidelines to define what is ethically acceptable and to enforce them are the product of the abovementioned field of Roboethics. Robots are, in fact, machines, meaning tools that are unaware of the choices made by their human creators, which, therefore, bear the moral responsibility for the actions, good or bad, of robots. 22
  23. 23. What is Robot’s Ethics Finally, there is a third level, which we could perhaps define as ―Robot’s Ethics‖, because it is the ethic born from the subjective morality of a hypothetical robot that is equipped with a conscience and freedom to choose its own actions on the basis of a full comprehension of their implications and consequences. It is only in this case that robots may be deemed as moral agents, and that one may refer to as involving the responsibilities or rights of robots. 23
  24. 24. Roboethics Taxonomy  Humanoids Artificial Mind, Artificial Body  Advanced production systems Industrial robotics  Adaptive robot servants and intelligent homes Indoor Service Robots, Ubiquitous Robotics  Network Robotics Internet Robotics, Robot ecology  Outdoor Robotics Land, Sea, Air, Space  Health Care and Life Quality Surgical Robotics, Bio-Robotics, Assistive Technology  Military Robotics Intelligent Weapons, Robot Soldiers, Superhumans  Edutainment Educational Robots, Robot Toys, Entertainment, Robotic Art 24
  25. 25. Focus on Military Robotics In this field are comprised all the devices resulting from the development of the traditional systems by robotics technology: • Integrated Defense Systems: A.I. system for intelligence and surveillance controlling weapons and aircraft capabilities. • Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) Autonomous Tanks: armored vehicles carrying weapons and/or tactical payloads. • Intelligent Bombs and Missiles. • UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles): also referred to as autonomous flying veheicles (AFVs) or Drones, unmanned spy planes and remotely piloted bombers. • ASV (Autonomous Surface Vessels), patrol boats. • AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles): intelligent torpedoes and autonomous submarines. 25
  26. 26. Robot Soldiers Robot Soldiers: Eventually humanoids may be employed to substitute humans in performing ―sensitive‖ tasks and missions in environments populated by humans. The main reasons of using humanoids are to permit a one-by-one substitution, without modifying the environment, neither the human/human interaction nor the engagement rules. This could be required where the safeguard of the human life is considered a priority in many different scenarios: • • • • Urban Terrain Combat Indoor security operations. Patrol Surveillance 26
  27. 27. Superhuman Superhuman: there are several projects aimed at developing a superhuman soldier. Actually, the human body cannot perform tasks with the strength, the speed and the fatigue resistance of the machines. By augmentation is indicated the possibility to extend human’s existing capabilities through wearable robot exoskeletons, to create superhuman strength, speed and endurance. • Artificial Sensor Systems • Augmented Reality • Exoskeletons 27
  28. 28. Benefits The claimed benefits of military robots are: a) Tactical/Operational strength superiority; b) Better performances of superhuman vs. human soldiers. c) Limited loss of human lives in the Robotized Army; d) Unemotional behavior, potentially more ethical than humans; 28
  29. 29. Issues Main problems could arise from: a) the inadequacy to manage the unstructured complexity of a hostile scenario; b) the unpredictability of machine behaviour; c) the increased risk of starting a videogame-like war, due to the decreased perception of its deadly effects; d) Unpredictable side effects on civilian population; e) Human in control hierarchy and robot’s transparency; f) Psychological issues of humans in robotized environments (mixed teams); g) Accountability and Responsibility Gap; h) The assignment of liability for misbehaviours or crimes; 29
  30. 30. Under Spotlight: USA Drones These vehicles are known as ―autonomous combat flying vehicles‖ (ACFVs), or more commonly as ―drones‖ While such vehicles are autonomous robots as far as flying is concerned (including take-off and landing), officially they can fire lethal weapons only by human command. At present (early 2013) there are an estimated 7500 drones in the US military arsenal, many are flown in secret missions by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While 10 years ago the United States was the only country possessing autonomous flying vehicles, CNN now estimates that 70 countries have AFV programs, but only about 15 of these have military drones. (CNN 2012) 30
  31. 31. Drone ELS Issues The ELS issues arising from the use of drones, both in civil and military field, include the following: • • • • • • • • Lack of legislation Privacy Data Security Cyber security Terrorism Collateral Damages Push-Button War Undeclared Wars 31
  32. 32. Collateral Damages Despite the increasing success of this technology, military hierarchies feel concerned about potential dangers: • Drones happen to accidentally fall possibly damaging humans and objects. • Daily news report about unintended injury or death of innocent non-combatants (usually known as ―collateral damage‖) from war theatres. • Potential friendly-fire casualties in crowded battlefield or due to enemy’s hacking/hijacking. 32
  33. 33. Push-Button War Drones flying over Afghanistan or various targets in Africa are controlled from Creech Air Force Base (near Las Vegas), or a base in New Mexico, thousands of km away from the vehicles themselves. The very fact that the human controllers who release the weapons are very far away, so that they do not see the blood and destruction directly but only from the drone’s cameras means that for some of them such activities are more like a video game rather than the killing and destruction of human beings. 33
  34. 34. Undeclared Wars Drones are used to attack suspected terrorists in countries that (officially) are not at war with the US. Hence, they are used in undeclared wars. This may be a violation of international law, and it certainly raises ethical issues. On the opposite, drones can quite easily be used by terrorists to hit targets in any country of the world, bringing undeclared wars everywhere. 34
  35. 35. Lack of International Conventions or Agreements It is clear that military robots are here and they have changed the nature of warfare dramatically. However, there are currently no international treaties or agreements governing their usee which raises serious ethical questions. Military Robotics should be thoroughly examined by Specialized International Organizations, as happens for every type of military technology, to be regulated by International Conventions or Agreements. 35
  36. 36. The Basic and Underlying Etical Issue Prior to discussing ―when, how, and where‖, we should decide ―IF‖ a fully autonomous robot can be allowed to kill a human. 36
  37. 37. NO “Licence to Kill” to Robots 37
  38. 38. Thank You! Contact Information: Gianmarco VERUGGIO Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Istituto di Elettronica e di Ingegneria dell'Informazione e delle Telecomunicazioni Via De Marini, 6 - 16149 Genova, Italia Email gianmarco@veruggio.it Tel. +(39) 010-6475616 Mob. +(39) 338-9431561 Fax +(39) 010-6475200 38

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