Roboethics: Social and Ethical Implications

  • Gianmarco Veruggio
  • Fiorella Operto
  • George Bekey

Abstract

This chapter outlines the main developments of roboethics 9 years after a worldwide debate on the subject – that is, the applied ethics about ethical, legal, and societal aspects of robotics – opened up. Today, roboethics not only counts several thousands of voices on the Web, but is the issue of important literature relating to almost all robotics applications, and of hundreds of rich projects, workshops, and conferences. This increasing interest and sometimes even fierce debate expresses the perception and need of scientists, manufacturers, and users of professional guidelines and ethical indications about robotics in society.

Some of the issues presented in the chapter are well known to engineers, and less known or unknown to scholars of humanities, and vice versa. However, because the subject is transversal to many disciplines, complex, articulated, and often misrepresented, some of the fundamental concepts relating to ethics in science and technology are recalled and clarified.

A detailed taxonomy of sensitive areas is presented. It is based on a study of several years and referred to by scientists and scholars, the result of which is the Euron Roboethics Roadmap. This taxonomy identifies the most evident/urgent/sensitive ethical problems in the main applicative fields of robotics, leaving more in-depth research to further studies.

3-D

three-dimensional

ACFV

autonomous combat flying vehicle

AFV

autonomous flying vehicle

AI

artificial intelligence

AMC

Association for Computing Machinery

AUV

autonomous underwater vehicle

CARE

coordination action for robotics in Europe

CAT

computer-aided tomography

CE

computer ethic

CEPE

Computer Ethics Philosophical Enquiry

COMEST

Commission mondiale d’éthique des connaissances scientifiques et des technologies

CPSR

Computer Professional for Social Responsibility

ELS

ethical, legal and societal

EURON

European Robotics Research Network

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization

GPS

global positioning system

IAB

International Association of Bioethics

IACAP

International Association for Computing and Philosophy

ICT

information and communication technology

IED

improvised explosive device

IE

information ethics

IFR

International Federation of Robotics

ILO

International Labor Organization

ISO

International Organization for Standardization

MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NMR

nuclear magnetic resonance

OECD

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

ORI

open roboethics initiative

PAPA

privacy, accuracy, intellectual property, and access

PET

positron emission tomography

RCR

responsible conduct of research

sci-fi

science fiction

SRI

Stanford Research Institute

TC

technical committee

UAV

unmanned aerial vehicle

UGV

unmanned ground vehicle

UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianmarco Veruggio
    • 1
  • Fiorella Operto
    • 2
  • George Bekey
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication EngineeringNational Research Council (CNR)GenoaItaly
  2. 2.Scuola di RoboticaGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Southern CaliforniaArroyo GrandeUSA

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