Media Technology MSc

Ada Lovelace lecture by Carme Torras, on research and ethics of social robots

All are cordially invited to attend the third LIACS Ada Lovelace lecture, entitled

"Social Robots: Research Challenges and Ethical Issues"
by Carme Torras, Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial, Barcelona.

Robots are no longer confined to factories, they are progressively spreading to urban, social, and assistive domains. These new robots must be able to interact with people and assist users in a friendly, effective, and secure way. These so-called social robots pose new, very attractive research challenges. They must be easy to command by non-expert users, intrinsically safe to people, able to manipulate not only rigid but also deformable objects, and highly adaptable to non-predefined and dynamic environments. A quick overview of research on these topics will be provided.

Social robots raise also fundamental ethical issues, many practical ones stemming from autonomous robot decision-making conflicting with human freedom and dignity. A longer-term issue is how our increasing interaction with robots will affect individual identity, society, and the future of humankind. What human capabilities will be enhanced, which will be extinguished and which new ones will appear? Philosophy, psychology and law are shedding principled light on these issues, while arts and science-fiction freely speculate about the role the human being and the machine may play in this “pas à deux” in which we are irremissibly engaged.

Professor Carme Torras

Photo of Carme Torras (from Makerfaire Barcelona)Carme Torras is Research Professor at the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC), and Head of the Perception and Manipulation group at the Robotics Institute in Barcelona. She has published five books and about three hundred papers in the areas of robot kinematics, computer vision, geometric reasoning, machine learning, and manipulation planning. Prof. Torras has participated in many activities to promote research into Ethics in Robotics: she has delivered talks at local, national and international venues, she has written essays on science fiction and ethics, and she is currently developing pedagogical materials to teach Roboethics based on her novel The Sentimental Mutation.

Details and Registration

30 November 2018