Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

March 8th, 2013

Robots: Giving Rights to Robots

In this episode, we talk with Kate Darling from the MIT Media Lab, about giving rights to social robots. She tells us about a recent Pleo torture session she organized at the LIFT conference and the class she taught at Harvard Law School on “Robot Rights”.

Kate Darling
Kate Darling is an Intellectual Property Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab. She recently wrote a paper on “Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots” where she asks if we should consider protecting robots that connect with us on a social level. In her paper, she says:

“Assuming that our society wants to protect animals regardless of their capacities, because of our personal attachments to them, society may well also want to protect social robots regardless of their capacities.”

To test our attachment to robot companions, Darling organized a workshop at LIFT which involved torturing and “killing” Pleo dinosaurs.

The task ended up being surprisingly difficult for the participants who had spent time bonding with the robots. In the end, only one Pleo was killed.

Darling asks if mistreating a social robot could be a precursor sign of abusive personality, and if certain limits should be set on what people should and shouldn’t be doing with robots. She tells us about the course she co-taught with Professor Lawrence Lessig at Harvard Law School on “Robot Rights”, and the questions legal experts should be tackling in the realm of robotics.

Kate Darling is also a Ph.D. candidate in the field of Intellectual Property and Law & Economics at the ETHZ in Switzerland and holds a law degree (B.A./J.D. equivalent) from the University of Basel, where she graduated with honors in 2008. Her research interests have previously revolved around innovation policy and the economic analysis of copyright and patent law. She gave a related talk at LIFT this year entitled “Innovation Drivers: XXX”.

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November 16th, 2012

Robots: Digital Cultures

In today’s episode we speak with Chris Chesher about how he views the emergence of robotics. He brings a new and interesting perspective as his approach mixes science and technology studies, media studies and ethnography in an effort to understand robotic technologies and everyday-life.

Chris Chesher

Dr Chris Chesher is Senior Lecturer in Digital Cultures working with cultures of contemporary robotics, in association with the Center for Social Robotics at the Australian Center for Field Robotics, University of Sydney Australia. His background is in studies on Media, communications, and interdisciplinary studies. His research interests center around the disruptive effects of technology, such as robotics, on society.

He also writes a blog called FollowingRobots.


News

Read the story about Georgia Tech’s robotic dragonfly on Robohub.

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May 18th, 2012

Robots: The Future of Robot Companions

In this interview recorded at the Robotdalen Robotics Innovation Challenge, Professor Paolo Dario talks to Per about 3 conceptual waves of innovation, starting with industrial robots, then adding artificial intelligence and finally the third wave, which is coming, where convergence between different fields of science and interdisciplinary teams become increasingly important.

Dario also gives his perspective on ethics and legal issues in robotics, and how robots can evolve based on ambient intelligence. Robots can basically take advantage of being a part of an interconnected system, where not all the intelligence is necessarily part of the robot itself.

Finally, Dario shares some learnings from his time as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, before telling us more about the FET project Robot companions for citizens.

Paolo Dario
Paolo Dario received his Dr. Eng. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1977. He is currently a Professor of Biomedical Robotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa and teaches at the School of Engineering of the University of Pisa and at the Campus Biomedico University in Rome.

Prof. Dario was the founder of the Advanced Robotics Technologies and Systems Laboratory and is currently the Co-ordinator of the Center for the Research in Microengineering Laboratoryof the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, where he supervises a team of about 70 researchers and Ph.D. students. His main research interests are in the fields of medical robotics, bio-robotics, mechatronics and micro/nanoengineering, and specifically in sensors and actuators for the above applications, and in robotics for rehabilitation.

He is the coordinator of many national and European projects, the editor of two books on the subject of robotics, and the author of more than 200 scientific papers. Prof. Dario has served as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society in the years 2002-2003, and he is currently Co-Chair of the Technical Committees on Bio-robotics and of Robo-ethics of the same Society. Prof. Dario is an IEEE Fellow, a Fellow of the European Society on Medical and Biological Engineering, and a recipient of many honors and awards. He is also a member of the Board of the International Foundation of Robotics Research (IFRR). Right now Professor Dario works on the FET Flagship initiative Robot Companions for Citizens, with the goal to realize a unique and unforeseen multidisciplinary science and engineering program supporting a radically new approach towards machines and how we deploy them in our society.

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April 6th, 2012

Robots: History and Outlook

In today’s episode we speak with two authorities in robotics, George Bekey and Rodney Brooks about the last 50 years of robotics, the ongoing robot revolution and future prospects.

George Bekey

George Bekey is one of the father of robotics. In the 1960s, he designed and built the first four-legged robot in North America. He later founded the Biomedical Engineering Department and the Robotics Research Laboratory at the University of Southern California.

His laboratory designed and built several five-fingered robot hands and developed grasping theory. Their work included a knowledge-based approach to grasping and the use of robot hands as models for prosthetic hands. He also worked with his students to develop an autonomous helicopter, study gait control in legged robots and create a walking machine governed by genetic algorithms. His experience led him to write a book on Autonomous Robots published in 2005.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Bekey was chosen by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to lead a 2005-2006 assessment of the state of robotics in the United States, Western Europe and the Pacific Rim. The team’s findings culminated in a report to its federal sponsors on American competitive advantages and weaknesses on the international stage.

He retired after 40 years as a full-time faculty member at USC and continues to be active in his community and in his profession. He currently serves on the advisory boards of several robotics and high-tech companies.

In this interview, we discuss the history of robotics and his vision of the future with emphasis on bio-inspiration, learning, human robot interactions and ethics.

Rodney Brooks

Rodney Brooks has been one of the main actors in the field of robotics over the past 30 years. He received degrees in pure mathematics from the Flinders University of South Australia and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1981. He held research positions at Carnegie Mellon University and MIT, and a faculty position at Stanford before joining the faculty of MIT in 1984 where his work focused on computer vision, artificial intelligence, robotics, and artificial life.

Brooks was the director of the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (C-SAIL) Laboratory until 2007 and one of the founders of iRobot. He is currently the founder, chairman and CTO of Heartland Robotics that aims to revolutionize manufacturing and increase productivity of industries using robots that are teachable, safe and affordable.

Per was able to briefly meet with Brooks at the RobotDalen conference in Sweden. A video of Brooks’ keynote can be found below.

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September 10th, 2010

Robots: The Law

This episode focuses on the legal and ethical implications of robotics. Ryan Calo from the Stanford Law School discusses the big impact of liability legislation on the progress of robotics and the impact robots have on your privacy.

Ryan Calo

Ryan Calo is a senior research fellow at Stanford Law School and expert in robots and the law, subject which he actively blogs and tweets about. Prior to joining the law school in 2008, Calo was an associate at Covington & Burling, LLP, where he advised companies on issues of data security, privacy, and telecommunications. He now runs the Consumer Privacy Project at the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford. As an expert in his field he also serves on several advisory and program committees, including Computers Freedom Privacy 2010, the Future of Privacy Forum, and National Robotics Week.

In recent years, he’s been thinking about the implications of robots in our society. His forte resides in considering liability issues companies face when commercializing robots and privacy issues that creep up when robots enter our everyday lives.

One of the main discussions looks at whether manufacturers, users or even robots should be responsible for robots and their actions and what implications that holds on how freely industry will be able to roll out new robots into our societies.

The second topic looks at how robots will impact our privacy when roaming freely in our homes and workplaces. Obvious questions include what happens with all the potentially sensitive material such as images and sounds stored in the robots memory and risks of potential hacking. Another less discussed topic touches on our loss of “solitude” when robots that are perceived as human-like enter our space.

Finally, we look at the far future with questions about how the law should consider robots with human-level intelligence.

Poll

With so many questions about the future, we couldn’t resist putting up a poll to have your opinion. The question we’re asking you today is :

If robots become as intelligent as us, should they be considered as equal by the law?

Make sure you take the poll and debate in the comments section below or on our forum.

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Latest News:
For more information on this week’s news on Telepresence and CMU’s tree-climbing snakebot have a look at the Robots Forum.

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