EC Ethicbots Project
ETHICBOTS (Emerging Technoethics of Human Interaction with Communication, Bionic and Robotic) was a Coordination Action funded by the European Commission in the Science&Society area (FP6 - Science and Society. Start date: November 1st, 2005. Duration: 2 years).
It promoted and coordinated a multidisciplinary group of researchers into artificial intelligence, robotics, anthropology, moral philosophy, philosophy of science, psychology, and cognitive science, with the common purpose of identifying and analyzing techno-ethical issues concerning the integration of human beings and artificial (software/hardware) entities.
Three kinds of integration were analized:
- Human-softbot integration, as achieved by AI research on information and communication technologies
- Human-robot, non-invasive integration, as achieved by robotic research on autonomous systems inhabiting human environments
- Physical, invasive integration, as achieved by bionic research
Crucial ethical issues in these areas include the preservation of human identity, and integrity; applications of precautionary principles; economic and social discrimination; artificial system autonomy and accountability; responsibilities for (possibly unintended) warfare applications; nature and impact of human-machine cognitive and affective bonds on individuals and society.
The coordinated work enabled to establishing a techno-ethically aware community of researchers, at a European level, by promoting workshops, training and dissemination activities.
The Coordination Action aimed at developing the capability of researchers to communicate in understandable ways with journalists, policy makers, concerned citizens, and wider audiences of non-specialists.
A knowledge-base on techno-ethical issues was set up to serve both internal and external dissemination purposes.
ETHICBOTS provided inputs to EU and national institutions for techno-ethical monitoring, warning, and opinion generation. In each of these activities, ETHICBOTS aimed at shifting attention from limitation to encouragement, guidance, and promotion of responsible scientific and technological research.
The CA's Consortium was coordfinated by the University "Federico II", Naples, Physical Science Department and Department of Computer and Systems Engineering, Italy (coordinator), and it had the following partnership:
- Fraunhofer Institute for Autonomous intelligent Systems, Sankt Augustin, Germany
- Scuola di Robotica, Genova, Italy
- Institute of Applied Philosophy, Faculty of Theology, Lugano, Switzerland
- University of Reading, department of Cybernetics,
- UKHochschule der Medien University of Applied Sciences, Stuttgart, Germany
- LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse, France
- Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy
- University of Pisa, Department of Philosophy, Italy
- Middlesex University, Interaction Design Centre, School of Computing, London, UK
The School of Robotics was responsible for the WP5, Dissemination.