Robophilosophy or robot philosophy is a field of philosophy that deals with robots (hardware and software robots) as well as with enhancement options such as artificial intelligence. It is not only about the practice and history of development, but also the history of ideas, starting with the works of Homer and Ovid up to science fiction books and movies. Disciplines such as epistemology, ontology, aesthetics and ethics, including information and machine ethics, are involved. The new platform robophilosophy.com was founded in July 2019 by Oliver Bendel. He invited several authors to write with him about robophilosophy, robot law, information ethics, machine ethics, robotics and artificial intelligence. All of them have a relevant background. Oliver Bendel studied philosophy as well as information science and made his doctoral thesis about anthropomorphic software agents. He has been researching in the fields of information ethics and machine ethics for years.
The article „Hologram Girl“ by Oliver Bendel deals first of all with the current and future technical possibilities of projecting three-dimensional human shapes into space or into vessels. Then examples for holograms from literature and film are mentioned, from the fictionality of past and present. Furthermore, the reality of the present and the future of holograms is included, i.e. what technicians and scientists all over the world are trying to achieve, in eager efforts to close the enormous gap between the imagined and the actual. A very specific aspect is of interest here, namely the idea that holograms serve us as objects of desire, that they step alongside love dolls and sex robots and support us in some way. Different aspects of fictional and real holograms are analyzed, namely pictoriality, corporeality, motion, size, beauty and speech capacity. There are indications that three-dimensional human shapes could be considered as partners, albeit in a very specific sense. The genuine advantages and disadvantages need to be investigated further, and a theory of holograms in love could be developed. The article is part of the book „AI Love You“ by Yuefang Zhou and Martin H. Fischer and was published on 18 July 2019. Further information can be found via link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-19734-6.
Fig.: Manga girls are often used as role models
Robots in the health sector are important, valuable innovations and supplements. As therapy and nursing robots, they take care of us and come close to us. In addition, other service robots are widespread in nursing and retirement homes and hospitals. With the help of their sensors, all of them are able to recognize us, to examine and classify us, and to evaluate our behavior and appearance. Some of these robots will pass on our personal data to humans and machines. They invade our privacy and challenge the informational autonomy. This is a problem for the institutions and the people that needs to be solved. The article „The Spy who Loved and Nursed Me: Robots and AI Systems in Healthcare from the Perspective of Information Ethics“ by Oliver Bendel presents robot types in the health sector, along with their technical possibilities, including their sensors and their artificial intelligence capabilities. Against this background, moral problems are discussed, especially from the perspective of information ethics and with respect to privacy and informational autonomy. One of the results shows that such robots can improve the personal autonomy, but the informational autonomy is endangered in an area where privacy has a special importance. At the end, solutions are proposed from various disciplines and perspectives. The article was published in Telepolis on December 17, 2018 and can be accessed via www.heise.de/tp/features/The-Spy-who-Loved-and-Nursed-Me-4251919.html.
Fig.: What have I got to hide?
The Gatebox was given to some persons and institutions in Japan some time ago. The company announced at the end of July 2018 that it is now going into series production. In fact, it is possible to order on the website the machine that resembles a coffee machine. The anime girl Azuma Hikari lives in a glass „coffee pot“. She is a hologram connected to a dialogue system and an AI system. She communicates with her owner even when he is out and about (by sending messages to his smartphone) and learns. SRF visited a young man who lives with the Gatebox. „I love my wife,“ Kondo Akihiko is quoted. The station writes: „He can’t hug or kiss her. The Japanese guy is with a hologram.“ (SRF) Anyone who thinks that the love for manga and anime girls is a purely Japanese phenomenon is mistaken. In Dortmund’s BorDoll (from „Bordell“ and „Doll“ or „Love Doll“) the corresponding love dolls are in high demand. Here, too, it is young men shy of real girls who have developed a desire in the tradition of Pygmalion. Akihiko Kondo dreams that one day he can go out into the world with Azuma Hikari and hold her hand. But it’s a long way to go, and the anime girl will still need her little prison for a long time.
Fig.: In love with an anime girl
Oliver Bendel was invited by the Green European Foundation to the second edition of the Green Salon around robotics and artificial intelligence in Vienna on the 12th of February 2018. „The Green Salon is an invitation-only event for the Green family and independent experts and thinkers from across Europe, to discuss important topics that will shape the future of the European Union. While research and industry in Europe and beyond have achieved immense progress in recent years, the public and political debate on the moral and legal implications of the use and further development of these new technologies is still in its infancy. A challenging situation, which needs to alarm as well as motivate Greens to meaningfully shape the debate on how we can make sure emerging technologies serve humans appropriately, while remaining under their full control. In particular, the impact of automation on job markets, and of new technologies in general on the very nature and future of work, are at the core of the discussion. Beyond simple adaptation discourses of mainstream media and other political families, the Green Salon aims at taking the debate further for the Greens and their partners.“ (Invitation Letter of the Green European Foundation) The Green European Foundation is a European-level political foundation funded by the European Parliament.
Auf maschinenethik.net und informationsethik.net gibt es die neue Rubrik „Abstracts“. Dort werden Abstracts von ausgewählten wissenschaftlichen Beiträgen zur Maschinenethik und zur Informationsethik von Oliver Bendel gesammelt. Es sind ausschließlich englische Abstracts, und die dazugehörigen Texte sind ebenfalls mehrheitlich in englischer Sprache. Auch andere europäische Autoren können dort aufgenommen werden. Sie können ihre Abstracts an die E-Mail-Adresse im Impressum senden, wobei sie die Erlaubnis zur Veröffentlichung erteilen müssen. In den USA wird auf die Maschinenethik und die Informationsethik in Europa zu wenig Bezug genommen, vor allem, wenn die Beiträge in deutscher, französischer, italienischer, spanischer oder portugiesischer Sprache vorliegen. Von allen wichtigen Vertretern liegen natürlich auch Texte in englischer Sprache vor. Aber viele europäische Wissenschaftler, gerade Philosophen, schreiben gerne in ihrer Muttersprache. Über die Rubrik kann sowohl auf nichtenglische als auch auf englische Beiträge aufmerksam gemacht werden. Das Entscheidende ist eben, dass die Abstracts in englischer Sprache vorhanden sind.
Prior to the hearing in the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany on 22 June 2016 from 4 – 6 pm, the contracted experts had sent their written comments on ethical and legal issues with respect to the use of robots and artificial intelligence. The video for the hearing can be accessed via www.bundestag.de/dokumente/textarchiv/2016/kw25-pa-digitale-agenda/427996. The documents of Oliver Bendel (School of Business FHNW), Eric Hilgendorf (University of Würzburg), Norbert Elkman (Fraunhofer IPK) and Ryan Calo (University of Washington) were published in July on the website of the German Bundestag. Answering the question „Apart from legal questions, for example concerning responsibility and liability, where will ethical questions, in particular, also arise with regard to the use of artificial intelligence or as a result of the aggregation of information and algorithms?“ the US scientist explained: „Robots and artificial intelligence raise just as many ethical questions as legal ones. We might ask, for instance, what sorts of activities we can ethically outsource to machines. Does Germany want to be a society that relegates the use of force, the education of children, or eldercare to robots? There are also serious challenges around the use of artificial intelligence to make material decisions about citizens in terms of minimizing bias and providing for transparency and accountability – issues already recognized to an extent by the EU Data Directive.“ (Website German Bundestag) All documents (most of them in German) are available via www.bundestag.de/bundestag/ausschuesse18/a23/anhoerungen/fachgespraech/428268.
Am 9. Oktober 2014 ist der Artikel „Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Animals“ von Oliver Bendel in der Zeitschrift Künstliche Intelligenz erschienen. Im Abstract heißt es: „Advanced driver assistance systems are widely used. Some support and inform the driver. Others relieve him or her of certain tasks – and transform the human-guided system into a semi-autonomous one. For some years also fully autonomous systems have been on the roads, so-called self-driving cars, as prototypes of companies and within research projects. From the perspective of ethics – both of the special fields of ethics like animal ethics, information ethics and technology ethics and of machine ethics which can be understood as a counterpart to human ethics – advanced driver assistance systems raise various questions. The aim of this paper is to derive suggestions from animal ethics and other disciplines for the improvement and development of the systems. The basis are literature analysis and own classifications and considerations. The result is that there are many possibilities to expand existing systems and to develop new functions in the context with the aim to reduce the number of animal victims.“ Der Artikel kann über http://www.springer.de bezogen werden.