Robots have no rights from a philosophical and ethical point of view and cannot currently get any rights. You only have such rights if you can feel or suffer, if you have a consciousness or a will to live. Accordingly, animals can have certain rights, stones cannot. Only human beings have human rights. Certain animals can be granted basic rights, such as chimpanzees or gorillas. But to grant these animals human rights makes no sense. They are not human beings. If one day robots can feel or suffer, if they have a consciousness or a will to live, they must be granted rights. However, Oliver Bendel does not see any way to get there at the moment. According to him, one could at best develop “reverse cyborgs”, i.e. let brain and nerve cells grow on technical structures (or in a robot). Such reverse or inverted cyborgs might at some point feel something. The newspaper Daily Star dealt with this topic on 28 December 2018. The article can be accessed via www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/748890/robots-ai-human-rights-legal-status-eu-proposal.
Fig.: Who gets the brain implanted?
The international workshop “Understanding AI & Us” will take place in Berlin (Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society) on 30 June 2018. It is hosted by Joanna Bryson (MIT), Janina Loh (University of Vienna), Stefan Ullrich (Weizenbaum Institute Berlin) and Christian Djeffal (IoT and Government, Berlin). Birgit Beck, Oliver Bendel and Pak-Hang Wong are invited to the panel on the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence. The aim of the workshop is to bring together experts from the field of research reflecting on AI. The event is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung). The project “Understanding AI & Us” furthers and deepens the understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) in an interdisciplinary way. “This is done in order to improve the ways in which AI-systems are invented, designed, developed, and criticised.” (Invitation letter) “In order to achieve this, we form a group that merges different abilities, competences and methods. The aim is to provide space for innovative and out-of-the-box-thinking that would be difficult to pursue in ordinary academic discourse in our respective disciplines. We are seeking ways to merge different disciplinary epistemological standpoints in order to increase our understanding of the development of AI and its impact upon society.” (Invitation letter)
Fig.: The Humboldt Box in Berlin
“Robophilosophy 2018 – Envisioning Robots In Society: Politics, Power, And Public Space” is the third event in the Robophilosophy Conference Series which focusses on robophilosophy, a new field of interdisciplinary applied research in philosophy, robotics, artificial intelligence and other disciplines. The main organizers are Prof. Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh, Dr. Janina Loh and Michael Funk. Plenary speakers are Joanna Bryson (Department of Computer Science, University of Bath, UK), Hiroshi Ishiguro (Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, Osaka University, Japan), Guy Standing (Basic Income Earth Network and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK), Catelijne Muller (Rapporteur on Artificial Intelligence, European Economic and Social Committee), Robert Trappl (Head of the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Austria), Simon Penny (Department of Art, University of California, Irvine), Raja Chatila (IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in AI and Automated Systems, Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France), Josef Weidenholzer (Member of the European Parliament, domains of automation and digitization) and Oliver Bendel (Institute for Information Systems, FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland). The conference will take place from 14 to 17 February 2018 in Vienna. More information via conferences.au.dk/robo-philosophy/.
Fig.: Creating artificial beings
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?