Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

February 27th, 2009

Robots: Robot Ethics (Part 2)

This episode closes a two-part special looking at ethical issues in robotics. Given the broad and controversial nature of this topic, we speak with two world-renowned experts in ethics with often-opposing views. Our first guest featured on our last episode, Noel Sharkey, is Professor of Public Engagement, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield in the UK. In today’s episode we interview Ronald Arkin, the director of the Mobile Robot Lab and Associate Dean of Research at Georgia Tech in the US. Both researchers discuss issues such as military robots, robots in the society, medical robots and legal responsibilities. Their opinions on these subjects have been widely covered by the media, international organizations and academia. The interviews were recorded individually and both researchers were asked the same questions.

Ronald Arkin

Ronald Arkin is Regents’ Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he also serves as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Computing.

By looking at a wide variety of autonomous mobile robots in his lab, either aerial, ground-based or swarming, he’s become a world renowned expert in robotics and control, authoring corner-stone textbooks such as Behavior-Based Robotics – Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents (MIT Press 1998).

In the past years, Arkin has become one of the pioneers in robot ethics, tuning in at the start of discussions on Roboethics in 2004. Since then he’s written several publications on the ethics of military robots, arguing that robots in the future could be more ethical than humans on the battlefield. Embedded with a sense of ethics, or even guilt, such robots could perhaps be able to make decisions in life-death situations. His views are presented in his new book to appear in spring 2009 entitled Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots.

Other than military robots, Arkin discusses issues such as the attachment of people to robots, and more generally, the role of robots as care-givers or workers in the society. He also touches on the subject of medical robots, or prosthetic, capable of enhancing the human being.

Finally, with so many questions raised on the ethics of robotics, we look into the entities which will be setting limits on the use of tomorrows robots as well as defining who takes the responsibly of their actions. Could the robots themselves be held responsible in the end?

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including a video of the Israel’s new Harop UAV, videos of the iLean and the iHop robots and more information on CMU’s new degree program visit the Robots forum!

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February 13th, 2009

Robots: Robot Ethics (Part 1)

In this episode we start a two-part special looking at ethical issues in robotics. Given the broad and controversial nature of this topic, we will speak with two world-renowned experts in ethics with often-opposing views. Our first guest, Noel Sharkey is Professor of Public Engagement, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Our second guest, which will be featured in our next episode, is Ronald Arkin, the director of the Mobile Robot Lab and Associate Dean of Research at Georgia Tech in the US. Both researchers discuss issues such as military robots, robots in the society, medical robots and legal responsibilities. Their opinions on these subjects have been widely covered by the media, international organizations and academia. The interviews were recorded individually and both researchers were asked the same questions.

Noel Sharkey

Noel Sharkey is Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Sharkey has been one of the pioneers of robotics from its earliest days, having moved across fields, from philosophy to engineering, psychology and AI. He’s appeared in numerous international television shows, organized robot competitions for young people around the globe, and is the editor for several major journals in robotics. Sharkey also runs his own radio show called Sound of Science, in which he tries to make science accessible to everyone.

In his additional role as Professor of Public Engagement Sharkey’s job is to inform politicians, various public bodies and national and international organisations about ethical problems that may arise in robotics. He is a constant presence in international media when the topics of robotics in the military, policing, child and elderly care crop up, and has recently been interviewed in a parliamentary podcast.

Part 2 in Two Weeks

The debate on robot ethics is not over! Be sure to listen to our next episode in which we speak with Ronald Arkin who presents a very different perspective on the ethical issues in robotics.

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Latest News:

For more information and discussion on this week’s Robots news,
including an upcoming webcast about the remote controlled beetle, sale of your robot Doppelgaenger and a video of the desktop robotic arm visit the Robots forum!

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January 30th, 2009

Robots: Human-Robot Love

In this episode we look at a subject that doesn’t always come to mind when you think of robots: love and relationships. Our first guest David Levy is the author of the book Love and Sex with Robots which has received wide media attention in the past year because it predicts that humans and robots will soon engage in genuine relationships, both physical and emotional.

We then speak to robot anthropologist Kathleen Richardson from Cambridge about her review of Levy’s book and her take on the meaning and likeliness of human-robot couples.

David Levy

David Levy is best known for his many years as a Scottish International Master of Chess, but it’s his recent doctoral thesis entitled “Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners” at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands that has been getting him extensive media coverage lately. In an unusual combination of psychology, sociology and robotics Levy studied the dynamics of sex and relationships between humans and robots.
Levy tells us about his belief that robots will soon become a ubiquitous part of our society, and it will be common for people to have relationships and even marry their robotic partners. He explains the dynamics of relationships and sex as he sees them, and how they can be extended to relations with artificial partners or robots as they become more advanced and life-like. Finally he tells us in his own words what he hopes that people take away from his latest book Love and Sex with Robots.

Kathleen Richardson


Kathleen Richardson recently completed her doctoral studies in the department of social anthropology at the University of Cambridge during which she conducted fieldwork in robotic labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her thesis, “Annihilating Difference? Robots and Building Design at MIT”, examined the breakdown of boundaries between humans and non-humans through a study of robots. She has also given several talks on human-robot relationships and her work has been featured in the New York Times.

She’ll be presenting her review of David Levy’s book “Love + Sex with Robots” and will tell us why genuine love relationships between humans and robots are mostly unfounded speculations grounded in science fiction fantasies. She also discusses the attachment that humans can feel for “things” and the ambiguities that might raise.

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For a video of the net launching security robot, a video of the MDS robot Nexi, and more on the functioning of the MCMS micro-grippers have a look at our forum!

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January 4th, 2008

Talking Robots Podcast LogoTalking Robots: Roboethics
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In this interview we talk to Gianmarco Veruggio who founded the association Scuola di Robotica in Genova (Italy) to study the complex relationship between Robotics and Society. This led him to coin the term and propose the concept of Roboethics, or the field of Ethics applied to robotics. He discusses topics such as the use of robots in our everyday environments, the lethality and benefits of medical robots or military robots, augmented humans and robots as human-like artifacts. Should we start thinking like Asimov, deriving laws and limits to apply for the peaceful cohabitation of humans and robots?

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