Machine ethics researches the morality of semi-autonomous and autonomous machines. In 2013 and 2014, the School of Business at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW implemented a prototype of the GOODBOT, which is a novelty chatbot and a simple moral machine. One of its meta rules was it should not lie unless not lying would hurt the user. In a follow-up project in 2016 the LIEBOT (aka LÜGENBOT) was developed, as an example of a Munchausen machine. The student Kevin Schwegler, supervised by Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel and Prof. Dr. Bradley Richards, used the Eclipse Scout framework. The whitepaper which was published on July 25, 2016 via liebot.org outlines the background and the development of the LIEBOT. It describes – after a short introduction to the history and theory of lying and automatic lying (including the term of Munchausen machines) – the principles and pre-defined standards the bad bot will be able to consider. Then it is discussed how Munchausen machines as immoral machines can contribute to constructing and optimizing moral machines. After all the LIEBOT project is a substantial contribution to machine ethics as well as a critical review of electronic language-based systems and services, in particular of virtual assistants and chatbots.
Fig.: A role model for the LIEBOT
„Merging of man and machines: questions of ethics in dealing with emerging“ – this is the title of an event which takes place in the European Parliament, Brussels, on 8 September 2016, 9:30 – 13:00. The IEU monitoring newsletter DIGITAL AGENDA provides the following information: „The Working Group Green Robotics would like to invite you to a public hearing on ‚Merging of man and machines: questions of ethics in dealing with emerging technology‘. With this and further discussions we would like to develop a position on how society should respond to questions like How will our lives and our society change with the increasing fusion with modern technology? What role have politics and law in this context? Is there a need for regulation and if so, how? How can human rights be addressed?“ In the track „Ethics & Society: Examples of how our lives, values and society will change“ three experts will give talks, namely Yvonne Hofstetter (author and director of Teramark Technologies GmbH), Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel (author of „Die Moral in der Maschine“ and Professor at the School of Business FHNW) and Constanze Kurz (author and spokesperson Chaos Computer Club). The track „Politics & Law: Examples of how we do/can debate and regulate this field“ is maintained by Juho Heikkilä (DG Connect, Robotics, Head of Unit, tbc) and Prof. Dr. Dr. Eric Hilgendorf (Chairman of the Department of Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, Legal Theory, Information and Computer Science Law, University of Würzburg). Two other lecturers of the event are Enno Park (Chairman of Cyborgs e.V.) and Dana Lewis (founder and OpenAPS thinker). Further information via www.janalbrecht.eu/termine/merging-of-man-and-machines-questions-of-ethics-in-dealing-with-emerging-technology.html.
Fig.: Man or machine or both?
The second international congress on „Love and Sex with Robots“ will be taking place in London, from 19 to 20 December 2016. Topics are robot emotions, humanoid robots, clone robots, entertainment robots, teledildonics, intelligent electronic sex hardware and roboethics. In the introduction it is said: „Within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction, the past few years have witnessed a strong upsurge of interest in the more personal aspects of human relationships with these artificial partners. This upsurge has not only been apparent amongst the general public, as evidenced by an increase in coverage in the print media, TV documentaries and feature films, but also within the academic community.“ (Website LSR 2016) The congress „provides an excellent opportunity for academics and industry professionals to present and discuss their innovative work and ideas in an academic symposium“ (Website LSR 2016). According to the CfP, full papers should „be no more than 10 pages (excluding references) and extended abstracts should be no more than 3 pages (excluding references)“ (Website LSR 2016). More information via loveandsexwithrobots.org.
Fig.: Logo and mascot of the congress