Monday, April 18, 2011

Robotics conference bringing together ethicists and engineers

A conference titled, "Bridging the robotics gap:bringing together ethicists and engineers" is scheduled for Enschede the Netherlands on July 11th and 12th.
Our processes determine the quality of our products”. This quote, taken from the work of Hugh Dubberly studying the multiple design processes of technologies, sums up the main aim of high quality engineering robot design: to create high quality robots by ensuring high quality design processes. But even high quality design processes may raise ethical issues. This conference brings together roboticists and ethicists working in the field to discuss the ethics of robot design. The conference targets both philosophers and engineers that want to take-up the challenge of interdisciplinary research – both theoretically, methodologically and pragmatically. As roboticist Illach Nourbakhsh claims, some of the personal obligations of the roboticist include being aware of the ethical issues and deliberating these issues. Thus, we will discuss the more abstract philosophical issues as well as applied ethics case-study based research, in conjunction with the obstacles facing engineers and designers. In short, the conference intends to bridge the robotics gap by facilitating the dialogue between ethicists, philosophers, anthropologists and social scientists, and, computer scientists, engineers and designers, all working in the field of robotics.

The conference website is available here.