Friday, May 06, 2011

Return of the Robots! and Hay on Wye Festival!

Longtime readers of Pangloss may recall that last September I was momentarily rather obsessed with robot law and roboethics, having been kindly invited to an expert meeting on this topic by the EPSRC. In particular I gave you a sneak preview of my own version of the redesigned "Asimovs laws" as "Laws for Roboticists" which we worked on drawing up. The Scotsman also published a two page spread about this.

The full "committee" version of the new laws - expanded to five - have now been oficially published in New Scientist in a piece written by the marvellous Alan Winfield.

Alan writes on his blog:

"Well it's taken awhile, but the draft revised 'laws of robotics' have now been published. New Scientist article Roboethics for Humans, reporting on the EPSRC/AHRC initiative in roboethics, appears in this week's issue (Issue 2811, 7 May 2011). These new draft ethical principles are an outcome of the joint EPSRC/AHRC workshop to discuss ethical, legal and societal issues in robotics, last September.! ..

Asimov’s laws updated: instead of 'laws for robots' our revision is a set of five draft 'ethical principles for robotics', i.e. moral precepts for researchers, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and maintainers of robots. We propose:
  1. Robots are multi-use tools. Robots should not be designed solely or primarily to kill or harm humans, except in the interests of national security.
  2. Humans, not robots, are responsible agents. Robots should be designed & operated as far as is practicable to comply with existing laws and fundamental rights & freedoms, including privacy.
  3. Robots are products. They should be designed using processes which assure their safety and security.
  4. Robots are manufactured artefacts. They should not be designed in a deceptive way to exploit vulnerable users; instead their machine nature should be transparent.
  5. The person with legal responsibility for a robot should be attributed."
These are of course very top level rules, needing interpretation in particular cases (just as the original laws did). Further commentary on these by the group (which I wrote a fair bit of, so like :) can be found here.

We emphasise that these are working documents, intended to inspire discussion not lay down immutable laws - comments here or elsewhere are very welcome.

This seems a good time to also announce that, slightly bizarrely, Pangloss is speaking on robots at HowTheLightGetsIn, the Hay-on-Wye Philosophy and Music Festival, which is a satellite to the famous literary festival! No, I'm not running the karaoke. I am part of the panel below for which I somehow suspect tickets are still available ( a snip at £6!)..

2.30pm Sat May 29th 2011

Rise of the Machines

Lilian Edwards, Peter Hacker, Hilary Lawson. Henrietta Moore chairs.

From 2001 to The Matrix, intelligent machines have played a central role in our fictions. But for half a century Artificial Intelligence research has been stalled. Now advances in robotics and language translation have put AI back on the agenda. But is AI possible or just a science fiction fantasy? And should we be excited or fearful at the prospect?

Eminent Oxford philosopher Peter Hacker, lawyer and technology guru Lilian Edwards and post-postmodernist Hilary Lawson imagine a future ruled by machines.

See you there! There's also Cory Doctorow, Susan Greenfield and Evgeny Morozow on that weekend and many more -- geek paradise!

1 comment:

Tom Levens said...

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Tom Levens from Robotics India