European Robotics Forum 2018

"Robot development and design: What about ethical aspects?”

The REELER project held a workshop during the European Robotics Forum, March 13-15, 2018 in Tampere, Finland.

REELER welcomed an interdisciplinary crowd of roboticists, policy makers, social scientists, legal experts, and more. Participants tested our new game BuildBot meant to elicit ethical reflection in a mock design process.

45 people attended the workshop, and in groups they were asked to imagine they are robot designers supposed to design an industrial robot. The game involved the use of instruction sheets and the list of features as well as cards. Each group selected 9 out of 27 features of the robot and were then asked to consult various types of stakeholders for insight into their wishes and concerns about an industrial robot.

Features selected during mock design process

BuildBot, an empirically-based design tool

The cards shown in the photo above all hold real statements from stakeholders interviewed in the REELER project's ethnographic case studies. The BuildBot participants drew 4 cards from different groups of affected stakeholders (such us workers, citizens, buyer, etc.). The statements included both positive and negative aspects of robot implementation. Based on these, each team could modify their list of 9 characteristics to address potential ethical issues in their robot design process. BuildBot is still under development, but the hope is to provide European robot developers with an empirically-based design tool for creating more ethical robots.

Workshop presentation