Meeting at the European Parliament, December 10

ROBOTS: REALISM AND IMAGINARIES! Where is the voice of the actual users?

December 10, 2019, REELER researchers presented the main findings of the project at the European Parliament in front of both MP's and non-MP's. In particular, researchers presented two policy recommendations to help make sure that the robotic future is one, where all both users and producers fluorish. The two recommendations were:

  1. Develop and disseminate tools that enhance robot developers’ (engineers, mostly) awareness of what is to be gained from collaborating with and taking end-users and affected stakeholders’ perspectives into account early on in the development phase.
  2. Develop alignment experts as a new profession, where people are educated in methods of aligning the views and visions of robot makers and affected stakeholders. Alignment experts can also give voice to distantly affected stakeholders, when relevant.

The event was hosted by MP Christen Schaldemose as held at the European Parliament's Member's Salon.

Session Program

Welcome by MEP Christel Schaldemose

Introduction to REELER and Collaboration in the inner circle of robotics by Project Coordinator Prof. Cathrine Hasse, Aarhus University, and R&D Director Maria Bulgheroni, Ab.Acus
Unforeseen impact of robots on nurses’ workload by Juan Jose Fernandez, Policy Advisor at European Federation of Nurses Associations

Citizen involvement and Innovation network by Prof. Kathleen Richardson and Prof. Andreas Pyka

Policy recommendations for future robot developments Presentation of two core policy recommendations and reflection upon these with the panel and guests 
Panel: Juan Jose Fernandez, Andreas Pyka, Kathleen Richardson, and Maria Bulgheroni 
Moderator: Cathrine Hasse
Summing up and thank you by Prof. Cathrine Hasse

Speakers in order of appearence

Christel Schaldemose is S&D Group Coordinator for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO). She serves as a substitute on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI). She has worked among other things on ensuring consumer protection in the context of internetconnected objects like toys. She was a member of the Committee on Investigation into the Dieselgate Scandal (EMIS) and of the Committee for the Study of EU Approval Procedures for Pesticides (PEST).

Project Coordinator, Prof. Cathrine Hasse, Aarhus University has a long expertise in studying the relation between learning and culture in organizations with a special focus on universities and technical laboratories as workplaces. She is trained as an anthropologist and a cultural psychologist and her main study object (materialconceptual cultural learning processes) have through many years of academic work steadily increased her insight in a wide variety of engineering activities and physics at university level as well as schools. She was Coordinator of the FP7 project UPGEM that investigated gendered career paths in Physics in Europe.

R&D Director Maria Bulgheroni, Ab.Acus is an electronic engineer and director of Ab.Acus since 2006. Since 1995, she has been in charge of the R&D management for research centres, clinical centres, and private companies. Her expertise is in the pianification and management of research projects and in the design and development of software applications. Her main working fields are assistive technology, biomechanics, scientific and diagnostic instrumentation management, factory automation. She is also involved in teaching activities in academic and professional environments.

Juan José Fernández Romero is currently the Policy Advisor of the European Federation of Nurses’ Associations (EFN). He is working to promote and protect nurses and the nursing profession by liaising with the European Institutions. He has a background in European policies and public affairs, having worked in the European Medicines Agency, the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, and the Embassy of Spain in Stockholm (Sweden). He is interested on EU health-related issues and in fostering the role of nurses in the process of cocreation of new digital health tools. He holds a MA degree in European Studies obtained at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

Prof. Kathleen Richardson, De Montfort University, is a Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI and part of the Europe-wide DREAM project (Development of Robot- Enhance Therapy for Children with AutisM). She completed her PhD at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Her fieldwork was an investigation of the making of robots in labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After her PhD Kathleen was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (BAPDF), a position she held at the University College London. Kathleen's postdoctoral work was an investigation into the therapeutic uses of robots for children with autism spectrum conditions. In 2013, she was part of the Digital Bridges Project, an innovative AHRC funded technology and arts collaboration between Watford Palace Theatre and the University of Cambridge.

Prof. Andreas Pyka, Hohenheim University, graduated in Economics and Management at the University of Augsburg in 1998. Thereafter he spent two years as a Post Doc at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research in Grenoble, France. From 2002 until 2003 he held a guest professorship at the Austrian Research Centers "System Research" in Vienna and habilitated in 2004. Two years later he joined the University of Bremen where he became a professor for Economic Theory. In 2009 he was appointed to a professorship at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart where he has held the chair for innovation economics since April 2009.

Brief summary of presentations

Cathrine Hasse opened by presenting the Human Proximity Model and via this model provided examples of collaboration within and across the three circles. Examples were given of the negative effect of the lack of user involvement in the design phase coupled with normative thinking taking its point of departure in the technology rather than the human.

Maria Bulgheroni touched upon another consequence of the current lack of collaboration beyond the inner circle when promoting robots; viz. the clash between imaginaries and reality.

Juan José Fernández Romero offered his perspective on the unintended effects of robots in healthcare when nurses (as end-users or directly affected stakeholders) are either not heard or involved to late in the design phase.

Kathleen Richardson was next to tell about the ways in which REELER has sought to give voice – not only to the affected stakeholders but also to robot makers through two different tools: mini-publics and sociodrama, respectively.

Lastly, Andreas Pyka showed how our Human Proximity Model capture different innovation networks by including also the end-users and directly and distantly affected stakeholders as prominent and creative knowledge sources into the innovation process of robot development. The integration of these creative knowledge sources is not only responsible for better innovations and higher competitiveness but increases the ethical assessment.