Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

With robots, humans face 'new society'

Date:
February 22, 2013
Source:
KTH The Royal Institute of Technology
Summary:
Humanity came one step closer in January to being able to replicate itself, thanks to the EU's approval of funding for the Human Brain Project. Danica Kragic, a robotics researcher and computer science professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, says that while the prospect of living among humanoid robots calls to mind terrifying scenarios from science fiction, the reality of how humans cope with advances in robotics will be more complex, and subtle.

Robotics researcher Danica Kragic, from KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Credit: Image courtesy of KTH The Royal Institute of Technology

Humanity came one step closer in January to being able to replicate itself, thanks to the EU's approval of funding for the Human Brain Project. Danica Kragic, a robotics researcher and computer science professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, says that while the prospect of living among humanoid robots calls to mind terrifying scenarios from science fiction, the reality of how humans cope with advances in robotics will be more complex, and subtle.

Related Articles


"Robots will challenge the way we feel about machines in general," Kragic says. "A completely different kind of society is on the way."

The Human Brain Project will involve 87 universities in a simulation of the cells, chemistry and connectivity of the brain in a supercomputer, in order to understand the brain's architecture, organisation, functions and development. The project will include testing brain-enabled robots.

"Will we be able to -- just by the fact that we can build a brain -- build a human? Why not? What would stop you?" Kragic asks.

Nevertheless, consumer-grade robots are a long way from reality, says Kragic, who in addition to serving as Director of KTH's Centre for Autonomous Systems, is also head of the Computer Vision and Active Perception Lab.

She says that in order for robots to offer some value to households, researchers and developers will have to overcome some daunting technological challenges. Robots will have to multitask and perhaps even be programmed to have emotional capacities programmed into their logical processes, she says.

"Based on the state of the environment and what it is expected of the robot, we want the outcome action to be acceptable to humans," she says. "Many things that we do are based not just on facts, so should machines somehow have simulated emotions, or not? Either way, it is difficult to predict how that will affect their interaction with humans."

Kragic sees robots making a largely positive contribution to society. But they will also present some novel problems for which humans have few reference points, such as what are the social norms for interacting with robots?

"There is a discussion about robot ethics and how we should treat robots," Kragic says. "It's difficult to say what's right and wrong until you are actually in the situation where you need to question yourself and your own feelings about a certain machine -- and the big question is how your feelings are conditioned by the fact that you know it's a machine, or don't know whether it's a machine."

Kragic predicts that one of the most popular consumer application of robots will be as housekeepers, performing the chores that free up time for their owners. They could also take over jobs that are repetitive, such as operating buses or working in restaurants. On the other hand, the robot industry will expand and create jobs, she predicts.

As for the possibility that one day robots will turn on us -- Kragic is skeptical. "A robot rebellion -- that's the ultimate science fiction scenario, right? It's worth placing some constraints on robots, such as (author Isaac) Asimov's Three Rules of Robotics. At the same time, we have rules as humans, which we break. No one is 100 percent safe, and the same can happen with machines."

Human rebellion against robots is far more likely, she says, pointing out that even as society's attitudes toward automation evolve over generations, the debate over whether humans have the right to "play God" will likely continue. "There will be people for and against it," she says. "But what is wrong with building a human? We have been raised in a society that thinks this is wrong, that this is playing God.

"Subsequent generations could have a different view."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by KTH The Royal Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

KTH The Royal Institute of Technology. "With robots, humans face 'new society'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130222083029.htm>.
KTH The Royal Institute of Technology. (2013, February 22). With robots, humans face 'new society'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130222083029.htm
KTH The Royal Institute of Technology. "With robots, humans face 'new society'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130222083029.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins