Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The case for an Ethical Black Box

Last month we presented our paper The Case for an Ethical Black Box at Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS 2017), University of Surrey. The paper makes a very simple proposition: all robots should be fitted, as standard, with the equivalent of an aircraft Flight Data Recorder. We argue that without such a device - which we call an ethical black box - it will be impossible to properly investigate robot accidents. Ian Sample covered our paper in the Guardian here.

Here is the paper abstract:
This paper proposes that robots and autonomous systems should be equipped with the equivalent of a Flight Data Recorder to continuously record sensor and relevant internal status data. We call this an ethical black box. We argue that an ethical black box will be critical to the process of discovering why and how a robot caused an accident, and thus an essential part of establishing accountability and responsibility. We also argue that without the transparency afforded by an ethical black box, robots and autonomous systems are unlikely to win public trust.
And here are the presentation slides from TAROS:

The full paper can be downloaded from here. Comments and feedback welcome.

The full paper reference:

Winfield A.F.T., Jirotka M. (2017) The Case for an Ethical Black Box. In: Gao Y., Fallah S., Jin Y., Lekakou C. (eds) Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems. TAROS 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10454. Springer, Cham.

Related blog posts:
The infrastructure of life 2 - Transparency