Friday, 27 September 2013

Expert in social robotics comments on BBC1 Sunday Morning Live

Professor Dautenhahn - expert in social 
robotics on BBC1 Sunday Morning Live
Kerstin Dautenhahn, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research (CCSIR), was invited to comment on last week’s Sunday Morning Live discussion on ‘Can we trust robots with our future?’ (Sunday 22 September).

Recognised as an expert in social robots, Kerstin provided her views via Skype on the ethics and role of robots within eldercare.  Many people fear that robots will replace humans and potentially become isolated, but in fact it is up to the care providers to decide as to how robots are used.

She believes that we need to move away from the idea of fully autonomous robots and to start to think of robots as part of a human-robot team where robots and people collaborate with each other – each of them focusing on their own strengths.  Robots should focus on time-consuming or physically-demanding tasks such as helping older people getting out of bed or helping them to stand up; whereas humans, the professional carers, doctors and family members, should focus on providing what humans do really well, which is to provide emotional and social support.

The crucial point here is that the decisions around the use of robots and how they get used is ours, as humans, to make.  We’re not making replica humans but designing robots for specific time-consuming and physically-demanding tasks – freeing up our time so that we can provide that critical emotional and social support that older people need.

Sunday Morning Live is a religious and currents affairs discussion programme produced in Belfast and broadcast on BBC1.  It features studio guests, filmed inserts and interactive viewer input from text messages, videophone, Skype, telephone and e-mail.

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