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Clearpath, Killer Robots, and Why their Statement Matters

August 21, 2014 – 3:06 pm |

Last week the Waterloo-based Clearpath publicly pledged not to develop lethal autonomous weapons, otherwise known as “killer robots”. In an open letter to the public, Clearpath’s CTO Ryan Gariepy wrote to support the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an …

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Human-Robot Interaction

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Latest news on health care robots and related issues

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Latest news on military robots, autonomous and tele-operated systems

Robots in the Wild

Catch-all category covering robots for your home to those still hanging out at labs


Commentaries by AJung on anything and everything robots/roboethics

Podcast, Robots in the Wild »

Robots Podcast: Avner Levin on Privacy, Google, and big deals

March 11, 2014 – 4:48 pm |

What does it mean to have giants like Google, Apple and Amazon investing in robotics? Since last December, Google alone has acquired a handful of companies in robotics, home automation and artificial intelligence. This can be pretty exciting for robotics. But what exactly is the internet giant planning to do with this technology? Is there something we should be worried about? If there is, what can we do about it?

Experts have been actively talking about this in the media, including through Robohub’s recent focus series on Big Deals in Robotics.

Last Friday, my podcast interview with Avner Levin was published on Robots Podcast. Avner Levin, a privacy and cybercrime expert, spoke about Google’s recent acquisition of companies. Levin sheds light on why we should be concerned about the recent series of acquisitions by the big companies from privacy and cybercrime perspective. He also discusses whether the existing privacy policies are ready to handle what may lie shortly ahead of us in the future — the future of the Internet of Things, or perhaps Google-branded robots.

Take a listen here:


Avner Levin
Avner Levin is the Chair of the Law & Business Department, as well as the Director of the Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. His research interest is in regulation and protection of privacy with respect to technology within Canada and worldwide. In the interview, he advocates for more discussion of privacy issues to take place, not just within the companies that (do/will) hold our data, but by governing bodies.
This post was originally published on Robots Podcast.

What does it mean to have giants like Google, Apple and Amazon investing in robotics?

February 12, 2014 – 11:14 pm |

It’s exciting for the robotics community that the giants (Google, Apple, and Amazon) are actively investing in robotics.
Indeed, my initial response to hearing about Google’s first seven of a series of acquisitions of robotics-related companies …

What were the top stories in robotics from 2013?

December 11, 2013 – 6:50 am |

2013 was a year filled with talk of drones.
I’m not saying this just because I’m biased by the recent news reporting on how large companies (Amazon, DHL, and UPS to be exact) are exploring the use of drones …

Robots Podcast: Julie Carpenter on Working with EOD Personnel

November 29, 2013 – 6:28 am |

Following my Robots Podcast interview with Peter Asaro a few months ago, I had the opportunity to interview another person on a related topic: robots who work with EOD personnel. I spoke with Julie Carpenter, …

Do robots need heads?

August 15, 2013 – 7:00 am |

Are you curious about what your future robotic assistants will look like?
My bet is that by the time you buy your very first robotic butler, it will have a friendly head on it that moves. …

Robots Podcast: Peter Asaro on Autonomous Weapons

May 17, 2013 – 6:23 am |

Earlier this year, there was a very exciting progress on the drone-discussions front. On behalf of Robots Podcast, I spoke with Peter Asaro from The New School in New York city about autonomous weapons systems. Peter spoke about …

The Ethical Robot License – Tackling open robotics liability headaches

May 6, 2013 – 11:03 pm |

At We Robot 2013 Diana Cooper, a JD Candidate at the University of Ottawa, presented her attempt to tackle the open source headache by proposing a new license called the Ethical Robot License (ERL). In her paper, A Licensing Approach to Regulation of Open Robotics, Cooper presents ERL as “a licensing approach to allocate liability between manufacturers and users and promote ethical and non-harmful use of open robots”.

Video interviews from Robot Block Party 2013

April 18, 2013 – 1:49 am |

Last week, Robot Block Party 2013 took place right after We Robot conference.
Of course, I had an extra day to spend at Stanford University after the conference and couldn’t miss out on the event.
The …

New Book: “Robot Futures” by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh

March 26, 2013 – 1:36 pm |

Robot Futures is a new book written by Dr. Illah Nourbakhsh, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been teaching roboethics at the university for many years. According to Dr. Noel Sharkey, this book is “[a]n exhilarating dash into the future of robotics from a scholar with the enthusiasm of a bag of monkeys. It is gripping from the start with little sci-fi stories in each chapter punching home points backed up forcefully by factual reality. This is an entertaining tour de force that will appeal to anyone with an interest in robots.”

Self-awareness, Robot Rights, and Today’s Robots

November 6, 2012 – 2:51 pm |

Last Friday, I was sitting in a seminar room reading up on an article that introduced me to a group called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots (ASPCR). The message of the group and its position is very clear from the website. The front page of the website reads in large letters “Robots are people too! Or at least they will be someday” and “Upholding Robotic Rights Since 1999″.

I am very much open to such discussion of robot rights if and when such machines are developed. I think advocating for robot rights would become necessary if robots are sentient beings that are equal to humans.

However, if and before we are to get to that point, maybe we should be asking ‘why’ we would want such a machine in the first place?

In search for more HRI/Roboethics — start of CITEC Summer School

August 28, 2012 – 12:36 pm |

I woke up Saturday morning with less sense of panic than I had expected.
I was scheduled to leave for Europe later that day, and I still had barely packed for my three-week trip. It’s not …