Understanding Roboethics and Its Application

Understanding Roboethics and Its Application

Gregarious by nature, human race thrives on interaction with every entity in its surroundings, living, non-living and machines, and what defines the nature of these relationships is a code of behavior referred to as ethics. A question that arises is that are ethics truly required, particularly when dealing with robots which are after all machines in spite of having been equipped with artificial intelligence? This is where the term ‘Roboethics’ comes in and it is an aspect of robotics that has increasingly come into focus in recent times courtesy of the growing proliferation of intelligent systems in every aspect of our environment.

‘Roboethics’ is a combination of two words – robots and ethics – and it lays down rules pertaining to the interaction between human beings and robots. Having been coined in 2002 by a well-known robot scientist named Gianmarco Veruggio, it argues that since robots make life easier for human beings, they deserve to be treated with respect and care. This calls for accepting robots as species like plants, birds and animals, rather than being generalized as machines. However, it has also given rise to a counter argument – do robots actually need to be cared for?

On being asked about their perception of robots, there were three divergent views that emerged from the robotics community. While one was not interested in ethics at all, the remaining two expressed their consent for short-term and long-term ethics respectively. What further came to light was the fact that people who were against the concept of ethical treatment of robots were generally found to possess a negative opinion about humanity and its future. In comparison, groups which favored the concept held an optimistic view as regards the future of human race as also the constructive role played by robots in shaping society.

Another fact that emerged pertained to children being more accepting towards the good ness of robots as compared to adults who opined that emotional attachment only led to hindrance of functions that robots had been designed to perform. To counter this, a narrative style was employed to introduce robots into the system and this definitely served to enhance the sense of roboethics in users.

Society has reached a stage wherein governments have outlined a code of ethics for treating robots so that rather than being perceived as inanimate objects, these are handled with care and optimally utilized for aiding humanity to scale new heights.

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