Robotics, ethics and inclusive design

This post features abstracts from a conference panel session about robotics and ethics, and inclusive design. There’s more awareness of the need for diversity and representation in the development of ethical robots. The decision-making processes that go into these robots must be inclusive and considerate of the diverse communities that will interact with them. The discussion papers focus on two things: ethical implications of diversity in robotic research, and fostering a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives on design.

Key concepts considered in the abstracts are:

  • Privacy and surveillance, bias in decision systems and automation and employment.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion and autonomous machines.
A white human shaped robot is standing in a technology store. It has a touch screen attached to the chest area. What are the ethics and inclusion?

The title of the session is, Robotics at the Crossroads: A Discussion of Ethical Considerations, Moral Implications, and Inclusive Design. Here is a brief overview of the five abstracts.

Revisiting the use and misuse of autonomous

The application of technologies like generative AI is outpacing our ability to understand the implications for users. So who is really being serviced by these technologies?

Autonomous vehicles and ethical decision making

One of the motivations behind autonomous vehicles (AVs) is the potential to reduce vehicle crashes due to driver factors such as inattention. However, there are social concerns about how AVs should behave ethically in unavoidable crashes.

Opportunities for inclusive and ethical design in the U.S. army

The male body as a standard the the design of military equipment changed in the 1980s. However, aviation remains male-dominated and, for example, airplane cockpits are still designed with men in mind. This where Human Factors design is needed to ensure military equipment is operated at optimum levels regardless of the body size of the user.

Ethics and inclusion in product design and development

Product experience researchers have a unique role to play in the development of creating new products. While they don’t write code or build algorithms, they look at the use and impacts of these technologies when they become products.

Design Equity

Human-robot interaction as a discipline likely has more questions than answers when it comes to equitable design. Is technology value-free? If technology is not value-free, what values, or who’s values are highlighted, and who’s are downgraded? Experts in diversity, equity and inclusion should collaborate with robotic engineers and designers.

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