Motivation and Objectives
The theme of the ICRA 2011 conference is "Better Robots, Better Life", an expectation that the ever growing technology in robotics and automation will help build a better human society.
But achieving this goal is not only a technical problem. Robotics research and applications are increasingly raising ethical questions, related to emerging interactions between robots and human beings, as well as to the closer interaction between robotics research and the biological and social sciences.
The application of ethics to machines, including robots and computer programs, has been mostly limited so far to the consideration that designers and operators should take full responsibility of machines’ actions.
However, in the near future, the robotics community will develop machines whose behavior will be an emergent and, to some extent, unforeseeable result of design and operation decisions made by humans and even by other machines.
Moreover, the interaction and the physical integration of human beings and robotic systems is increasing exponentially. The social, economic, psychological, philosophical, and even spiritual impacts of this research are still unclear, but certainly they require careful analysis and attention by the robotics research community.
Among the objectives of the workshop is the opportunity of developing rules for roboethical quality insurance, aimed at preventing unethical uses of robotics research products. Long-term objectives include the increase of robotics researcher’s ethical awareness, in the context of the ever growing interdisciplinarity that will characterize the new generation of robotics research.