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IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems

IEEE Global Initiative Aims to Advance Ethical Design of AI and Autonomous Systems

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine. We thank RAM and the authors for giving us permission to reproduce it here.

Algorithms with learning abilities collect personal data that are then used without users’ consent and even without their knowledge; autonomous weapons are under discussion in the United Nations; robots stimulating emotions are deployed with vulnerable people; research projects are funded to develop humanoid robots; and artificial intelligence-based systems are used to evaluate people. One can consider these examples of AI and autonomous systems (AS) as great achievements or claim that they are endangering human freedom and dignity.

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Jeff Bezos piloting a giant robot

Video Friday: Robotics for Happiness, Drone Films, and Jeff Bezos's Robot Suit

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

Automate – April 3-3, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Austech – May 9-12, 2017 – Melbourne, Australia

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


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Open source robotics projects

How Open-Source Robotics Hardware Is Accelerating Research and Innovation

The latest issue of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine features a special report on open-source robotics hardware and its impact on the field. We’ve seen how, over the last several years, open source software—platforms like the Robot Operating System (ROS), Gazebo, and OpenCV, among others—has played a huge role in helping researchers and companies build robots better and faster. Can the same thing happen with robot hardware?

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Japanese humanoid robot ERICA raps about machine learning

Video Friday: Robots Rapping, Robo-Boat Competition, and Wall-Avoiding Drone

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

European Robotics Forum – March 22-24, 2017 – Edinburgh, Scotland
NDIA Ground Robotics Conference – March 22-23, 2017 – Springfield, Va., USA
Automate – April 3-3, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Austech – May 9-12, 2017 – Melbourne, Australia
Innorobo – May 16-18, 2017 – Paris, France

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


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Georgia Tech researchers developed a novel point-and-click robot grasping system

Point-and-Click Method Makes Robot Grasping Control Less Tedious

Until all robots everywhere are autonomous all the time, humans are going to have to take over once in awhile. This is going to happen more frequently as robots that are almost but not quite fully autonomous get deployed in residential, commercial, and industrial environments. When these robots get stuck on a task (and they definitely will get stuck), a human operator could hop in via telepresence to help them out. One problem, though, is that right now this teleoperation process is awfully tedious.

For most grasping tasks, when a robot needs help, it means that a human needs to manually position every single degree of freedom of the gripper while squinting at some low-resolution 3D point cloud. Georgia Tech researchers are working on making the process significantly less painful. Their approach involves getting rid of all of that manual positioning and using a friendly, interactive interface that takes care of everything with just one or two clicks.

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Brown University researcher works with a Baxter robot.

Robot Knows the Right Question to Ask When It's Confused

Last week, we (and most of the rest of the internet) covered some research from MIT that uses a brain interface to help robots correct themselves when they’re about to make a mistake. This is very cool, very futuristic stuff, but it only works if you wear a very, very silly hat that can classify your brain waves in 10 milliseconds flat.

At Brown University, researchers in Stefanie Tellex’s lab are working on a more social approach to helping robots more accurately interact with humans. By enabling a robot to model its own confusion in an interactive object-fetching task, the robot can ask relevant clarifying questions when necessary to help understand exactly what humans want. No hats required. 

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Robot flipping burgers

Video Friday: Brain Scanning Baxter, Burger Flipping Arm, and Elevators With Feelings

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

IEEE SSRR – March 10-13, 2017 – Shanghai, China
NYC Drone Film Festival – March 17-19, 2017 – New York, N.Y., USA
European Robotics Forum – March 22-24, 2017 – Edinburgh, Scotland
NDIA Ground Robotics Conference – March 22-23, 2017 – Springfield, Va., USA
Automate – April 3-3, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


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EPFL bio-inspired crashproof drone

This Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes From Rigid to Flexible When It Crashes

Anyone who’s ever flown a drone of any sort will tell you that sooner or later, you’re going to crash it. The question is how exactly you will go about doing this, and how much of the drone will be functional after it’s happened. Most flying animals somewhat frustratingly don’t have this problem: Birds and insects run into things occasionally (or all the time, for small bugs), and just shrug it off and keep on going, thanks to their biological design, which includes both stiffness and flexibility. Now roboticists at the EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, are relying on these same qualities to design a highly resilient quadrotor that’s impressively difficult to destroy.

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TALOS humanoid robot from PAL Robotics

TALOS Humanoid Now Available from PAL Robotics

If you are a roboticist and you want to work with humanoids but you don’t want to build a robot from scratch, PAL Robotics would be happy to sell you one. The Spanish robot maker is introducing a new option that improves on its REEM humanoids: TALOS is a 32-degrees-of-freedom, 1.75-meter-tall, 100-kilogram robot designed for dynamic walking, heavy lifting, and (eventually) assisting humans with all of those tasks that we really don’t want to be doing.

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Robot with airbag collision test with human

Video Friday: Robots With Airbags, Drone vs. Drone, and MIT's Jumping Cube

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

HRI 2017 – March 6-9, 2017 – Vienna, Austria
IEEE ARSO – March 8-10, 2017 – Austin, Texas, USA
IEEE SSRR – March 10-13, 2017 – Shanghai, China
NYC Drone Film Festival – March 17-19, 2017 – New York, N.Y., USA
European Robotics Forum – March 22-24, 2017 – Edinburgh, Scotland
NDIA Ground Robotics Conference – March 22-23, 2017 – Springfield, Va., USA
Automate – April 3-3, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal

Enjoy todays videos, and let us know if you have suggestions for next week.


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IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

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Erico Guizzo
New York City
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Washington, D.C.
 

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