Since the introduction of Issac Asmiov’s Three Laws of Robotics in his 1950s anthology “I, Robot,” the role of robotics in protection and aid has been reinforced through popular culture, but robotics is becoming less like science fiction and more mainstream. AI technology, as well as UAVs and UGV’s, are taking on roles in everyday applications and this change comes with legitimate concerns.
Robotic systems are being implemented in healthcare, security, and safety industries in an effort to lower production costs and protect human capital; however, this introduces ethical dilemmas in regards to employment, the safety of autonomous technology, and what criteria a robot will use to make decisions in emergency situations.
Impact of Robotics on the Workforce
It is estimated that 800 million jobs, most from the food industry or factories, will be replaced by automated technology by the year 2030, according to a study from the McKinsey Global Institute. This change can be daunting, but it doesn’t mean we can’t look at the industrial growth that can come from automation. Some jobs, like laborious and monotonous ones, sustain society, while others that require creativity and strategic thinking advance society, and robotic technology can support these innovative jobs.
Ethical Implications of Autonomous Technology
Robotic systems can strengthen workflows, collect and analyze complex data, and navigate dangerous terrain, but robotics is created with the intention that a human will control them. Introducing robotic autonomy changes how society will view technology as well as the role robotics will take in our lives. It’s estimated that the self-driving car industry will generate $23.5 billion by 2021. Elon Musk stated that by 2020 Tesla models will have autonomous systems and drivers won’t be required to pay attention to the road.
These automated advances seem exciting, but they also come with challenges. Unmanned vehicles will challenge Asimov’s laws as they will choose what to do in dangerous situations, such as car collisions. The biggest question is who will construct a robot’s ethical framework and how society will respond to those decisions. In response to the ethics of AI technology, more than twenty states have passed laws regarding self-driving cars and legislators will address the ethics and help shape how society reacts to new autonomous robotics.
While lawmakers discuss the legal implications of robotics, Tomahawk Robotics works to integrate unmanned systems into workflows and job safety. We want to help the transition into an automated life easier, as AI and other robotic solutions become part of everyday life.