Inverse is an American online magazine, launched by Dave Nemetz, co-founder of Bleacher Report. It is based in San Francisco, California. According to the New York Observer, Inverse “aims to capture the millennial dude market with quirky takes on subjects like tech, games (video and board) and space” (Observer, October 20, 2015). Gabe Bergado asked the ethicist Oliver Bendel about sex robots and love dolls. One issue was: “Why are more companies and people becoming more interested in sex robots?” The reply to it: “Companies want to earn money. But I don’t think that this is a big market. Sex robots will remain a niche product. But, of course, sex toys are popular, und together with virtual and mixed reality, this could be the biggest thing next year. Some people and media are sensation-seeking. That’s why they are interested in sex robots and in men and women who fall in love with machines.” Another question was: “How should governments be reacting to the development of sex robots? Should there be regulations?” The answer is short and clear again: “Sex robots will remain a niche product, and I don’t think there will be many needs for regulation. Adults can do whatever they want to do, provided that they do not affect or disturb others in extreme ways. But I’m against child-like robots in brothels. Perhaps this should be banned.” The ethicist concluded with respect to sex robots: “It is interesting for a philosopher to research them and our relationship with them.” The final version of the interview was published in the article “Sex Robots Can’t Automate Emotional Intimacy” (January 28, 2017) which is available via www.inverse.com/article/27001-sex-robots-virtual-reality-engineering-oliver-mendel-interview.
Fig.: This could be a love doll
The swissnexDay’16 will take place at the University of Basel (December 15, 2016). The second break-out session “Care-Robots – an elderly’s best friend?” starts shortly after 4 pm. An extract from the description: “Ageing societies and a lack of qualified caregivers are challenging our current system and innovative solutions are strongly needed. Japan, with 20% of its population being over 65 years, is leading the development of robotic solutions. In this session, a diverse panel will discuss the current landscape in Japan and draw comparison to the situation in Switzerland. We will also discuss ethical applications and different perception of the relationship between human + robots.” (Website swissnex) Kyoko Suzuki (Deputy Head, S&T Tokyo), Christiana Tsiourti (University of Geneva) and Christine Fahlberg (School of Business FHNW, master student of Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel) will present their current research and discuss about robots in healthcare. Christine Fahlberg is focussing on the use of nursing robots from the perspective of ethics. Keynote speakers of the swissnexDay’16 are Prof. Dr. Andrea Schenker-Wicki (President, University of Basel), Dr. med. Guy Morin (President of the Executive Council of the Canton of Basel-Stadt) and State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio (State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation). Further information via www.swissnex.org/news/swissnexdays/.
Fig.: Will humans be replaced in healthcare?
Prior to the hearing in the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany on 22 June 2016 from 4 – 6 pm, the contracted experts had sent their written comments on ethical and legal issues with respect to the use of robots and artificial intelligence. The video for the hearing can be accessed via www.bundestag.de/dokumente/textarchiv/2016/kw25-pa-digitale-agenda/427996. The documents of Oliver Bendel (School of Business FHNW), Eric Hilgendorf (University of Würzburg), Norbert Elkman (Fraunhofer IPK) and Ryan Calo (University of Washington) were published in July on the website of the German Bundestag. Answering the question “Apart from legal questions, for example concerning responsibility and liability, where will ethical questions, in particular, also arise with regard to the use of artificial intelligence or as a result of the aggregation of information and algorithms?” the US scientist explained: “Robots and artificial intelligence raise just as many ethical questions as legal ones. We might ask, for instance, what sorts of activities we can ethically outsource to machines. Does Germany want to be a society that relegates the use of force, the education of children, or eldercare to robots? There are also serious challenges around the use of artificial intelligence to make material decisions about citizens in terms of minimizing bias and providing for transparency and accountability – issues already recognized to an extent by the EU Data Directive.” (Website German Bundestag) All documents (most of them in German) are available via www.bundestag.de/bundestag/ausschuesse18/a23/anhoerungen/fachgespraech/428268.
Abb.: Es entstehen immer mehr hybride Wesen und Vorgänge
Jared Bielby announced in these days that “Information Cultures in the Digital Age: A Festschrift in Honor of Rafael Capurro” is complete “and set to be published by Springer in July 2016″ (Information via ICIE mailing list). “Matt Kelly and I have had the privilege of working with some of the most forward thinking scholars of the field during our time as editors for this very important volume on information culture and practice.” (Information via ICIE mailing list) The Co-chair of the International Center for Information Ethics declared: “For several decades Rafael Capurro has been at the forefront of defining the relationship between information and modernity through both phenomenological and ethical formulations. In exploring both of these themes Capurro has re-vivified the transcultural and intercultural expressions of how we bring an understanding of information to bear on scientific knowledge production and intermediation. Capurro has long stressed the need to look deeply into how we contextualize the information problems that scientific society creates for us and to re-incorporate a pragmatic dimension into our response that provides a balance to the cognitive turn in information science.” (Information via ICIE mailing list) With contributions from 35 scholars from 15 countries, the book “focuses on the culture and philosophy of information, information ethics, the relationship of information to message, the historic and semiotic understanding of information, the relationship of information to power and the future of information education” (Information via ICIE mailing list). Further information at www.infoculturesbook.com.
Fig.: Selfies belong to the digital age
Der Artikel “Die Industrie 4.0 aus ethischer Sicht” erscheint am 23. Juli 2015 in der Zeitschrift HMD Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik, als “Online-First”-Artikel auf SpringerLink. Die deutsche Zusammenfassung: “Der vorliegende Beitrag arbeitet die wesentlichen Merkmale der Industrie 4.0 heraus und setzt sie ins Verhältnis zur Ethik. Es interessieren vor allem Bereichsethiken wie Informations-, Technik- und Wirtschaftsethik. Am Rande wird auf die Maschinenethik eingegangen, im Zusammenhang mit der sozialen Robotik. Es zeigt sich, dass die Industrie 4.0 neben ihren Chancen, die u. a. ökonomische und technische Aspekte betreffen, auch Risiken beinhaltet, denen rechtzeitig in Wort und Tat begegnet werden muss.” Das englische Abstract: “This article highlights the essential features of the industry 4.0 and puts them in relation to ethics. Of special interest are the fields of applied ethics such as information, technology and business ethics. Machine ethics is mentioned in passing in connection with social robotics. It is evident that the industry 4.0 in addition to opportunities, affecting among other things economic and technical aspects, includes also risks which must be addressed in word and deed in a timely manner.” Weitere Informationen über link.springer.com/article/10.1365/s40702-015-0163-z.
Abb.: Ihr Verhalten kann Einfluss auf die Produktion haben
Die 2nd European TA Conference, die zweite internationale Tagung zur Technologiefolgenabschätzung, findet vom 25. bis zum 27. Februar 2015 in Berlin statt. Der Call for Papers wurde in diesen Tagen veröffentlicht. Die Session “Mobilizing TA for Responsible Innovation – Philosophies, Ethics and Stakeholders” wird von Harro van Lente, Tsjalling Swierstra und Pierre Benoit Joly von der Maastricht University organisiert. Im Call heißt es: “The notion of ‘responsible innovation’ has become fashionable amongst policy makers and knowledge institutes. In the new Horizon 2020 calls of the European Union ‘responsible research and innovation’ (RRI) figures prominently as a condition and an aim in itself. Arguably, the rise of RRI will show considerable overlap with the aims, philosophies and practices of TA. The overlap, though, will not be perfect and this raises questions about both RRI and TA.” Weitere Informationen sind über berlinconference.pacitaproject.eu/ verfügbar.
Am 15. März 2013 trägt Oliver Bendel bei der European TA Conference in Prag zum Thema “Towards a Machine Ethics” vor. Das Abstract, das im Frühjahr im Tagungsband veröffentlicht wird, hebt mit den Worten an: “There is an increasing use of autonomous machines such as agents, chatbots, algorithmic trading computers, robots of different stripes and unmanned ground or air vehicles. They populate the modern world like legendary figures and artificial creatures in Greek mythology – with the main difference being that they are real in the narrow sense of the word. Some are only partially autonomous (acting under human command) while others are completely autonomous within their area of action. A genuinely autonomous machine should be able to act in a moral way, able to make decisions that are good for humans, animals and the environment. But what does it mean for machines to behave morally? Should they learn moral rules? Should they evaluate the consequences of their acts? Or should they become a virtuous character, following Aristotle? How is it possible to implement the classical normative models of ethics and is there a need for new ones?” Der erste, zweite und dritte Abschnitt des Beitrags wird knapp zusammengefasst; dann wird auf den vierten eingegangen: “Fourthly, the paper tries to answer the question if and how it is possible to implement the classical normative models of ethics and which models should be preferred. Seven important normative approaches are described and estimated relating to their suitability for machine processing. Then the focus shifts to duty-based ethics, ethics of responsibility and virtue ethics that seem to be serious candidates. With a short technical analysis it can be shown that they fit to machine processing, apart from some limitations. The most promising approach may be the combination of the selected normative models. It is not only similar in the ‘normal’ human ethics, but also an opportunity to balance out weaknesses of the autonomous machines and to allow them alternatives. In addition, other methods like orientation on reference persons and social media evaluation could be used.” Am Ende werden Wichtigkeit und Schwierigkeit des jungen Forschungsgebiets der Maschinenethik gleichermaßen betont und persönliche und allgemeine Einschätzungen gegeben.