Besides internet of things, robotics is the 2nd technology to be used nearly everywhere. Robots have been designed for nearly everything. Healthcare to space stations, research through ocean beds to uninhabited corners of the world, all of the world can be researched by our robot friends.
Outside the academic circles for robots, there also come social and moral issues. Robots are incredibly resistant when compared to human beings. Therefore, like any other technology, their misuse can be a thing. Therefore, outside the academic influence of robots, we can discuss ethics of robotics.
Rules for Robots Usage
It wasn’t before Silicon Valley Robotics council launched its set of 5 rules for ethical practicing of robotics. These guidelines are to be considered whenever the robots are to be used. Whether it is the marketplace or simply research place in a scientific lab, these 5 rules form the basis of practicing robotics.
1. Robots shall not be designed as weapons
2. Robots are to comply with laws and privacy
3. Robots like other products should be designed as safe and reliable
4. Robots are like any other manufactured products. The pointless things like emotions and similar agencies shouldn’t be exploited.
5. It should be clear who is responsible for any robotic design in existence.
All of these laws are strictly humanitarian. Other than these laws, there have come many other laws which state similar things about robots. We saw similar laws in different words in British Standards Institute. Many other notable institutes have launched several laws regarding the safety of robots and their benefit to humankind. All of these laws ensure that robotics remains a safe practice. The only areas which robotics should cover are to benefit humans. The ethical harms and weaponry are to be completely avoided.
Three similar laws were laid out by a famous scientist, Isaac Asimov,
i. Robots should not be designed to solely harm human beings.
ii. Humans are to be responsible for the behavior of robots.
iii. A human should be found if any robot behaves in a harmful manner
All of these standards focus on making robotics as much human-friendly as possible. Many robots undergo strict checking routine before being handed to marketplaces. The robots are also instructed to be designed physically in such a way that they are harmless. Robots employed especially in old houses and hospitals are to follow such criteria.
Emotional Connections through Robotics
The robotic connections can be emotionally bonding on several occasions. Robots being employed in old houses and hospitals can be the reason for emotional comfort. There are always unexpected results to this.
For several robots when designed in form of pets, make people form emotional attachments to them. It happens especially in case of lonely people like those in hospitals and old houses. The reason is that people seek emotional comfort in them. As a result, when such a robot is put out of stock or duty, people suffer from grief.
An example of such an emotional bond was seen when a robot in form of playable dog was disbanded in 2006. A large-scale grief was apparent when the production of such robot was stopped. Some people described the experience as watching a pet die slowly.
This is not the only example of emotional bonds being satisfied through robotics. Another example includes the grief of old people in old houses whenever a robot is replaced with some other technology. All of this indicates that whenever robots are designed to match pets or humanoid figure, people attach themselves emotionally to such prototypes.
Robots and Physical Violence
While robotic violence has been ruled out of robotics practice, it is worth remembering that robots are nonetheless employed in causing harm. The most explicit example can be of drone strikes. The drones are constantly used to cause harm to people. Some of them are used to spy. Drone strikes involve killing of people albeit terrorists apparently. The laws of robotics are clearly broken here.
Despite the critical behavior of robots being used to break the apparent law of cause, no harm has to be broken in many cases. For example, a killer could not be comprehended easily. Therefore, an explosive-carrying robot was sent after it to kill him. The murderer was responsible for the death of five other police officers. Apparently, robotics saved the lives of others by taking one life. This is not the only scenario where the things become much more than white and black.
Future of Robotics
The question remains. What is the future of robotics? While the effort is done at best to avoid the physical violence of robots, there are laws breaking in most prominent countries. The robots are not to be confused with emotional beings, yet Saudi Arabia gave a citizenship right to a humanoid robot. Not only this, the USA government is constantly using the drone strikes to help point out terrorists. Although this approach has been effective, there are innocent causalities as well.
While the future remains the blur, one thing is certain. Humans on large-scale refuse to change their nature. No matter what technology we bring, as long our wrong attitude towards war and violence remains same, our civilization will always remain behind real progress. Efforts are being done to produce technology which is safer for human beings in long term. The real advantage of any technology is actually sustenance of this planet. Any technology which harms the Earth ultimately gets ruled out by evolution.