Full Day Workshop on Roboethics
Kobe, 17 May 2009
Roboethics deals with the ethical, social and legal aspects of the design, development and employment of robots.
Progress in the field of computer science and telecommunications allows us to endow machines with enough intelligence so that they can act autonomously. Therefore we can forecast that in the Twenty-first Century humanity will coexist with the first alien intelligence we have ever come in contact with – robots. However, as the application field for robots is widening, and the robot is coming out of the factory halls, new challenges are seen, and even a change of paradigm is taking shape.
Synergies between Robotics, Neurosciences, Medicine, Education, Psychology, have broaden the scope of application of Robotics as such, making it a platform of global scientific research on humankind, on our Galaxy and on the interaction between humankind and Nature.
It will be an event rich in ethical, social and economic problems. Not only roboticists, but also sociologists, psychologists and philosophers are discussing about the potentialities and the limits of these intelligent machines in relation to human beings.
When Robotics is applied to society in numbers and volumes bigger than today, it will trigger widespread social and economic change, for which public and private policy must now prepared.
Under the pressure of the public opinion and the media, roboticists cannot avoid to engage themselves in a critical analysis of the social implications of their researches, in order to be able to give “scientific and technical”, as well as “philosophical”, answers to questions like:
  • What will be the cultural and social implication of the robotics invasion?
  • What will it happen when this smart robots will be our servants and house stewards, and when our lives will depend on them?
  • Could the robots be dangerous to humankind in any way?
  • How far can we go in embodying ethics in a robot?
  • Which kind of "ethics" is a robotics one?
  • How contradictory is, on one side, the need to implement in robots an ethics, and, on the other, the development of robot’s autonomy?
  • Is it right to talk about “consciousness”, “emotions”, “personality” of Robots?
The newly designed Applied Ethics of Roboethics has opened a debate all over the world on all these issues, among roboticists and scholar of philosophy, sociologists, psychologists and scholars of Science&Tecnology Studies.