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Fostering a culture of shared values: designing with ethics in mind

January 15, 2015 – 5:54 am |

From time to time, people ask me what I think is the best way to ensure that all designers consider roboethics issues in designing their next awesome robotic product.
For example, does Google have a systematic …

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Human-Robot Interaction

The way robots interact with us and related issues

Health Care Robots

Latest news on health care robots and related issues

Military Robots

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

Commentary, Military Robots »

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 international coalition that is spearheading the efforts to stop lethal autonomous weapons systems from being developed and deployed. While the Campaign has garnered significant support since its launch, it has not previously had support from the for-profit robotics sector – making Clearpath’s public statement a noteworthy demonstration of corporate responsibility, particularly given the company’s background in military applications.  Read the full story »

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

March 11, 2014 – 4:48 pm |
Avner Levin

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 …

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 |
Julie Carpenter

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 |
Baxter from Rethink Robotics

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 |
Peter Asaro

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 |
Image from http://presta-ecommerce.com/

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 |
2013-04-10 13.47.34

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?