Technology Are robots people? Europe isn't sure...

15:06  13 april  2018
15:06  13 april  2018 Source:   CNET

Robots ride to the rescue where workers can't be found

  Robots ride to the rescue where workers can't be found Fast-growing economies in Eastern Europe have led to severe labor shortages, so companies are calling in the machines.Raising wages didn’t help. Nor did offers to subsidize housing.

Six elderly people across Europe currently have a new companion: a GiraffPlus robot , or Mr. Robin, as one 94-year-old taking part in the trial rather adorably calls it in the video below. And the robotic part is no excuse not to keep in touch with your great aunty Doris.

The robotics community received the new initiative with enthusiasm, but some observers expressed concern about an expansion in automation, raising a perennial question in robotics : Do robots take people ’s jobs?

a man in a blue shirt© Provided by CNET Quick question: If a Terminator traveled back in time and accidentally spilled hot coffee on your lap, who would you sue? The Terminator or Skynet.

Tricky question, and one that European lawmakers are currently wrestling with right now in the year 2018.

The issue is with a report from the European Commission, released in early 2017, that suggests creating a "legal status for robots in the long run" so they could be "responsible for making good any damage they may cause".

It's one single line in a lengthy report, but it's been deemed important enough for 156 artificial intelligence experts to write an open letter denouncing the suggestion. According to the letter, there's a number of reasons why assigning (what the report calls) "electronic personality" to robots is a bad idea.

Irrigation robots could help grow wine grapes in California

  Irrigation robots could help grow wine grapes in California The lack of water and workers means winemakers could rely on machines.The researchers have been working to advance and refine the system since 2016, and RAPID is actually the second version of the project. In a new report, IEEE talks about where the researchers are with it, a bit over a year after it received a $1 million grant from the Department of Agriculture. The publication says team leader and UC professor Stefano Carpin is currently testing the system using a unmanned ground vehicle, but that he intends to build a specialized machine for it.

How do we make sure that we continue to educate people that have the right skill set for doing this. So the first industrial robots were built here by Unimate. They were put to work at GE and at General Motors. But then the industry went to Japan, and the industry went to Europe , which was a big concern.

After a professor told me it's not unusual for robots to kill people , I had a few questions. If you are , for instance, a factory worker, it is very important to follow established security protocols around robots and especially to stay out of the danger zone unless you are sure the robot is off.

To begin with, we could remove liability from the companies creating robots. Secondly, we'd have to grant robots "the right to remuneration or the right to citizenship" according to the letter, something that could potentially be in contradiction with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Wild stuff.

The open letter claims that the original European Commission report was "distorted by Science-Fiction" and "an overvaluation of the actual capabilities of even the most advanced robots".

In short, we're hardly at Blade Runner levels. The Terminator isn't going to be spilling coffee in your lap any time soon.

The recommendation of the 156 AI experts putting their name to this open letter is pretty clear: Protect human beings at all costs.

"The European Union must prompt the development of the AI and Robotics industry insofar as to limit health and safety risks to human beings," the letter said. "The protection of robots' users and third parties must be at the heart of all EU legal provisions."

Hard agree. Not quite ready for judgement day just yet.

Robo-pets bring life to Manitoba nursing home .
Robo-pets bring life to Manitoba nursing home"It's fascinating to see their eyes open up, to see how happy they are when they saw this pet," said Marco Buenafe, a clinical team manager at the Ashern Personal Care Home.


—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!