Schlagworte: Robophilosophy

About Service Robots

Service robots are becoming ever more pervasive in society-at-large. They are present in our apartments and our streets. They are found in hotels, hospitals, and care homes, in shopping malls, and on company grounds. In doing so, various challenges arise. Service robots consume energy, they take up space in ever more crowded cities, sometimes leading us to collide with them and stumble over them. They monitor us, they communicate with us and retain our secrets on their data drives. In relation to this, they can be hacked, kidnapped and abused. The first section of the article “Service Robots from the Perspectives of Information and Machine Ethics” by Oliver Bendel presents different types of service robots – like security, transport, therapy, and care robots – and discusses the moral implications that arise from their existence. Information ethics and machine ethics will form the basis for interrogating these moral implications. The second section discusses the draft for a patient declaration, by which people can determine whether and how they want to be treated and cared for by a robot. The article is part of the new book “Envisioning Robots in Society – Power, Politics, and Public Space“ that reproduces the talks of the Robophilosophy 2018 conference in Vienna (IOS Press, Amsterdam 2018).

Fig.: A transport robot in Switzerland

Lecturers as Holograms

At the conference “Robophilosophy” in Vienna in February 2018, Hiroshi Ishiguro spoke about his geminoid, which he adjusts every few years according to his own statement. Looking at him one could assume he was adjusted too, considering how much younger he seems than on older photos showing him with his artificial twin. After his speech, the audience fired questions at him. One question was why did he build robots at all when there was virtual reality? He answered because of the presence in space. Only holograms could come close to such a presence in future. Some universities are now planning to have lecturers appear as holograms in front of the students. This would actually be an alternative to the use of teaching robots and video-conferencing. Even interactions would be possible if the holograms or projections were connected to speech systems. Dr. David Lefevre, director of Imperial’s Edtech Lab, told the BBC: “The alternative is to use video-conferencing software but we believe these holograms have a much greater sense of presence”. The Gatebox, which was recently launched on the market, and a publication by Oliver Bendel (“Hologram Girl”), which will be available at the beginning of 2019, show that love relationships with holograms or projections are also possible.

Fig.: The professor on her way to work

Der Geminoid im Uncanny Valley

Hiroshi Ishiguro von der Universität Osaka war einer der Keynote-Sprecher auf der “Robophilosophy“-Konferenz in Wien vom 14. bis 17. Februar 2018. Der Japaner baut, wie einige Ingenieure, humanoide Roboter. Allerdings sind diese keine Karikaturen wie Pepper. Sie sind möglichst detailgetreue Kopien von realen oder fiktionalen Menschen. Ein Beispiel ist der Geminoid, der künstliche Doppelgänger des Robotikers. In letzter Zeit konzentriert sich Ishiguro auf weibliche Roboter. Eine Frau aus dem Publikum fragte ihn, warum dies so sei. Seine Antwort war, dass weibliche Roboter alle Menschen ansprechen würden. Männliche Roboter dagegen würden viele Menschen erschrecken, vor allem Kinder. Auch sein Geminoid. Eine andere Frage war, warum er überhaupt Kopien herstellen würde und nicht Fabelwesen, warum er also nicht etwas völlig Neues hervorbringen würde, anstatt Altes zu vervielfältigen. Seine Antwort war, daran würde er denken, aber er habe zuerst das eine machen wollen, bevor er sich an dem anderen versuchen würde. Eine weitere Frage war die nach dem Uncanny-Valley-Effekt. Die erstaunliche Antwort war, dass seine Roboter nicht mehr im unheimlichen Tal anzusiedeln seien. Dabei ist etwa der Geminoid geradezu ein Paradebeispiel für diesen Effekt. Das Publikum war sichtlich fasziniert und irritiert. Hiroshi Ishiguro ist ein wichtiger Visionär der Robotik.

Abb.: Hiroshi Ishiguro in Wien

Robophilosophy Conference in Vienna

“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

Fig.: Creating artificial beings