An “ethical black box” urgently required for robots

Publié le 28 Jul, 2017

Robots are gradually entering the public domain and are increasingly interacting with humans. With regard to ethical questions, university lecturers are advocating a “black box” for robots, like the ones on aeroplanes, in an attempt to monitor and explain the decisions taken by robots in the case of accidents, for instance.


This is one of the suggestions put forward during the latest conference at the University of Surrey, in the United States, to off-set concerns about robots operating independently without human control.  “We would hope that accidents are rare, but they are nevertheless inevitable,” stated Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England, in Bristol. 


Once installed in a robot, the ethical black box would record the robot’s decisions and the basis for those decisions, its movements and the information picked up through its sensors such as cameras, microphones and viewers. Alan Winfield believes that this step could facilitate “serious accident” investigation.


The robot could then use the same device to record its movements in simple language and explain to users why it decided on a certain course of action.

The Guardian, Ian Sample (19/07/2017)

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