Coursebooks

The ethics of robots

HUM-384

Lecturer(s) :

Rochel Johan Robert

Language:

English

Summary

This course enables students to sharpen their proficiency in tackling ethical challenges linked to robots. Students acquire the competence to define a robot and identify ethical questions linked to technology and to the increased use of robots in society. Students develop competency in handling norm

Content

The ethics of robots: addressing societal and legal challenges 

The increasing production and use of 'robots' raises numerous ethical, legal and societal questions. These range from conceptual issues ('What is a robot?') to technological-ethical issues ('How should robots act?') and to societal-political issues ('What if robots are widely deployed?') and legal questions ('How should accountability be handled in regard to robots and AI?'). The focus of attention has long been on military robots but the deployment of robotic technology in all areas of society dramatically increases the number of issues that call for an answer.

The following issues will be dealt with:

- What is a robot?

- Can robots truly act autonomously?

- Who is responsible for the actions of robots?

- What are the most pressing ethical questions for the different types of robots?

- How does the law deal with these questions?

- How should we design robots in order to overcome ethical challenges?

- How should we address the consequences of the wide deployment of robots?

 

Keywords

robots, ethics, law, innovation, responsibility

POLY-perspective :

https://www.epfl.ch/schools/cdh/cdhs-vision/

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

The course will be organized as an interactive and participative course. Students have to read texts for each session and to be ready for critical discussion.

Expected student activities

weekly reading of preparatory texts

active participation in class

writing of papers 

 

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed twice :

-        One-pager including the key elements of a preparatory text ' 30% of the grade 

-        Short paper on a freely chosen issue (or topic) (10 pages)  - 70% of the grade

 

Supervision

Office hours No
Assistants No
Forum No
Others by appointment 

Resources

Bibliography

Tzafestas, S. G. 2016. Roboethics. A Navigating Overview. Switzerland, Springer

Lin, P., Abney, K. and Bekey, G. A. eds., 2014. Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics. London, MIT Press

Ford, M., 2015. Rise of the Robots: Technlogy and the Threat of Jobless Future.  New  York,  Basic Books.

 

In the programs

Reference week

 MoTuWeThFr
8-9     
9-10     
10-11     
11-12     
12-13     
13-14 BS170   
14-15    
15-16     
16-17     
17-18     
18-19     
19-20     
20-21     
21-22     
 
      Lecture
      Exercise, TP
      Project, other

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  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German