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Alan Winfield – University of West England


Ethical Standards in robotics and AI: what are they and why they matter


In response to concerns over the ethical and societal impact of robotics and AI a new generation of ethical standards are emerging. In this talk I will introduce these standards, including  both British Standard BS8611 Guide to the ethical design of robots and robotic systems and the IEEE P700X series of ‘human standards’ currently in development. As a case study I will focus on one of these emerging standards: P7001 on Transparency of Autonomous Systems. I will set these ethical standards within the wider context of Ethical Governance, and ask the question: what is good ethical governance in robotics?. Standards, like open science, are a trust technology. Without ethical standards, it is hard to see how robots and AIs will be trusted and widely accepted, and without that acceptance their great promise will not be realized.

Brief Bio:

Alan Winfield is Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of York. He received his PhD in Digital Communications from the University of Hull in 1984, then co-founded and led APD Communications Ltd until taking-up appointment at UWE, Bristol in 1992. Alan co-founded the Bristol Robotics Laboratory where his research is focused on the science and engineering of cognitive robotics; current projects are focused on robots with simulation-based internal models and multi-robot systems in critical environments.

Alan is passionate about communicating research and ideas in science, engineering and technology; he led UK-wide public engagement project Walking with Robots, awarded the 2010 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke medal for public promotion of engineering. Until recently he was director of UWE’s Science Communication Unit. Alan is frequently called upon by the press and media to comment on developments in AI and robotics; he was a guest on the BBC R4 series The Life Scientific and more recently interviewed for BBC News HARDtalk.

Alan is an advocate for robot ethics; he sits on the executive of the IEEE Standards Association Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, and chairs Working Group P7001, drafting a new IEEE standard on Transparency of Autonomous Systems. Alan has published over 240 works, including Robotics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012); he lectures widely on robotics, presenting to both academic and public audiences, and blogs at http://alanwinfield.blogspot.com/




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