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Robotics and its role in modern society

Question:

Should robots be used in place of humans in these areas? Are there limits on how robots should be used for psychological/emotional support?

The essay discusses the impact of artificial intelligence in the modern society. With the development of technology since the past decade, especially in the area of robotics, the technology has started to share a considerable responsibilities performed by human beings previously. This due to this ultimate innovation as well as accomplishments associated with robotics, the ethical, social along with professional norms have been influenced in both affirmative and negative manners (Friedman et al. 2015). Therefore, various research has been done on identifying and analysing issues that are taking place or can emerge in near future at the time of implementing robot technology. The essay analyses this technology and the emerging ethical controversies associated with expanding usage of robotics in modern society.


According to Wallach (2012), the technology of the robotic science has been used for diverse areas such as new inventions, accumulation and manufacture along with information technologies. With the help of the robotics, humans are gaining higher efficiency and effectiveness. The electronic devices controlled by programs able to execute the different kinds of tasks that either cannot be performed by man or share the responsibilities in the absence of human being (Hew 2014). In the current world, robots are used in many fields like education, entertainment, factories, surgery, military, surveillance and farming. These are the areas where the robots have proved to work more efficiently, safely, speedily and accurately. They have produced high quality yield which human cannot perform (Riek et al. 2015). Beside this the robotics have also helped in performing dangerous tasks in which a man needs to put much effort. For example, the robots are now efficiently handling sensitive, complex and critical surgeries where the outcome is less painful. In these surgeries, the artificial intelligence is being used for miniaturization, lesser loss of blood, smaller incisions as well as fast healing time (Malle 2016). Unlike a human surgeon, these robots can perform such treatments more effectively and with lesser side effects (Payr 2015). Usually the patients often face the negative effects of manual surgeries but the robot surgeries reduce risks. Such surgeries can also be done remotely where the surgeons and patients are in remote location. The most important thing is that this technology provides opportunity to the specialized surgeons to perform a surgery globally at any place in this world. Therefore, this can be said that the medical field has been befitted by robot science for enhancing flexibility as well as availability.


According to the researchers, the robot science has proved to be essential in working and responding immediately in extreme conditions for example in excessive heat, pollution, noise, as well as dangerous fumes (Moosaei, Gonzales and Riek 2014). These are the places where people cannot access. Robotics is also deployed in working on very tiny dimensions that needs unprecedented accuracy by humans. Previously this technology was utilised only from packaging and developing other stages in drug manufacturing. now artificial intelligence is helping in developing as well as researching drugs recording its effectiveness (Borenstein and Arkin 2016). Most of the laborious tasks are being handled by the robots where people are just monitoring and controlling them. As the primary goal has always been increasing sales therefore, the manufacturers are employing robots instead of human employees.

Advantages of using robot technology

Optimizing logistics, composing art, detecting fraudulence, conducting research and providing translations the intelligent machines are fast transforming the modern lives for better. As soon as intelligence systems are becoming more capable, world is becoming more efficient as well as consequently richer. In spite of providing so much benefits, there are some ethical issues which are creeping in the scene. To Van (2016), this is the best time when the society must be aware of the limitless capabilities of the robots. This issue is as much a new frontier for risk management and ethics so also for emerging technologies. The ethical issues include the most important aspect where human beings are replaced with the robots. The hierarchy of workers is concerned with the automation. As humans have invented methods of automating jobs, that has created room for people to assume more complex role by moving from mere physical tasks. The world has moved from domination of menial works of pre-industrial era to the strategic and cognitive labourism in which the presence of artificial intelligence is getting prominence. The researchers are concerned with the increasing unemployment where the robots are creating wealth thus misbalancing the economy of a country. The majority of companies of the developed nations depend on hourly work when it comes to production as well as services but these companies are prone to prefer the artificial intelligence and drastically eliminating their workforce. This loss of reliance on the manual workforce has led to reduction of revenue distribution and eventually wealth gap.


In the organizations the employees undergo the training phase where they are trained for detecting right patterns but despite providing all the possible examples, the robots can be fooled in many ways. Hence there are some ethical issues emerging in deploying the robots in security purposes. Beside this, there has a problem of neutrality in identifying people scenes and objects (Sorell and Draper 2014). Various tests by Goole along with its parent company Alphabet, where the artificial intelligence is used for identification, they missed the mark on the racial sensitivity or in predicting future criminals, these robots have shown bias against the black people. Finally, the ethical issue that created hardest controversy where artificially intelligent robots are upgraded for modelling better human conversations as well as relationships. This has been widely used for aged care where more aged people are receiving attention from the machines. This is similar to the younger generation also where the machines are providing important information or dealing with the customers in sales. The machines are constantly used to make numerous video and mobile games.

In discussing the ethical issues in the robot human relationship the ethical theory of Immanuel Kant. This theory ascribes to the deontogical ethics where the actions are morally right when it has good motivation based not in self-interest but on the sense of duty. In this theory, every people must be able to work the same without any logical problems and the human being must always be treated as ends rather than used for the purpose to serve the others.

Ethical controversies associated with emerging robot technology

In many technologically developed countries like Japan, elderly population is growing fast who have nobody to care in illness. Most of these elderly people can be seen to be suffering from dementia where they have progressively short term memory therefore need care during stay or the time of agitation. The health care facilities of these countries have arranged for rehabilitation along with therapy for preparing the patients so that they can stay at home. These patients are unable to understand their situation but often talk about their past. Hence the care givers are using robots for monitoring the patient’s health as well as safety. The aged people of these countries have been suffering from alienation as they have less or no people at home for taking care of them. These robots are also deployed for providing them with companionship.


Despite all these possible benefits, the scholars have arisen some ethical and moral issues which disclose the negative effect of employing artificial intelligence that has replaced humans in all the physical works and now aimed to alter them from emotional aspects. The researchers have discussed six key ethical concerns connected with the prospective reduction of human contact where these aged people loosing emotional contact or need for a human to support them. The usage of robots has increased the feelings of objectification. It leads to a loss of privacy of an individual where the machine controllers have access to every nook and corner. Sometimes it has headed towards a loss of personal liberty (Voiklis, Cusimano and Malle 2014).  The researchers have found out the extreme dependence on the caring robots have led the aged people to deception along with infantilization. This practice is increasing dependence and trust on the machine and enhancing the circumstances where the elderly people are left on the responsibilities of machines that they sometimes fail to control.

Artificial intelligence does not possess the human rational intellectual capacity or the free will for understanding what establishes a rule which is inherently doable, desirable as well as valuable for its universalisation. However, the human agency is always in the backdrop for designing, developing, testing, and deploying such technologies so that the responsibilities for implementing categorical imperative supports humans. Human being determines which rules are to be programmed in the technology so that ethical use can be ensured along with moral conduct (Wallach 2012). These rules, capable of universalisation, must be public as well as shareable. Indeed, there are emerging controversies for a preventative prohibition rule and a majority of scholars recognise that any rules regulating autonomous machines must be taken account of legal, ethical and humanitarian considerations.

The essay concludes by providing a solution to this issue. The artificial intelligence if familiarized with foresight along with careful guidelines it can improve the life of these elderly people, by reducing dependence and generating more opportunities of social interaction.

References:

Borenstein, J. and Arkin, R., 2016. Robotic nudges: the ethics of engineering a more socially just human being. Science and engineering ethics, 22(1), pp.31-46.

Friedman, B., Hendry, D.G., Huldtgren, A., Jonker, C., Hoven, J. and Wynsberghe, A., 2015. Charting the next decade for value sensitive design. Aarhus series on human centered computing, 1(1).

Hew, P.C., 2014. Artificial moral agents are infeasible with foreseeable technologies. Ethics and information technology, 16(3), pp.197-206.

Malle, B.F., 2016. Integrating robot ethics and machine morality: the study and design of moral competence in robots. Ethics and Information Technology, 18(4), pp.243-256.

Moosaei, M., Gonzales, M.J. and Riek, L.D., 2014, August. Naturalistic pain synthesis for virtual patients. In International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 295-309). Springer, Cham.

Payr, S., 2015. Towards human–robot interaction ethics. In A Construction Manual for Robots' Ethical Systems (pp. 31-62). Springer International Publishing.

Riek, L.D., Hartzog, W., Howard, D.A., Moon, A. and Calo, R., 2015, March. The Emerging Policy and Ethics of Human Robot Interaction. In HRI (Extended Abstracts) (pp. 247-248).

Sorell, T. and Draper, H., 2014. Robot carers, ethics, and older people. Ethics and Information Technology, 16(3), pp.183-195.

Van Wynsberghe, A., 2016. Service robots, care ethics, and design. Ethics and Information Technology, 18(4), pp.311-321.

Voiklis, J., Cusimano, C. and Malle, B., 2014, January. A social-conceptual map of moral criticism. In Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society (Vol. 36, No. 36).

Wallach, W., 2012. Robot minds and human ethics: the need for a comprehensive model of moral decision making. Ethics and Information Technology, 12(3), pp.243-250.

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