ELEMENTI DI ROBOETICA
Robotics is rapidly becoming one of the leading fields of science and technology, so that very soon humanity is going to coexist with a totally new class of technological artifacts: the robots. Far from indulging in Sci-Fi’s scenarios, we could nonetheless describe the coming robot revolution as the first invasion of an alien race on Earth. Robots will assist humans in several circumstances, solving many problems, from daily life to productive activities to healthcare, from amusing kids to safeguarding the well-being of our planet Not all of these applications are going to raise ethical, social or psychological problems. However, as in every other field of science and technology, sensitive areas open up with a new array of problems that constitute the content of Roboethics today. This essay addresses some key general notions of Roboethics that are at the upstream of the regulatory rules for advanced robots’ applications. We then analyse the two levels of Roboethics applications: the applied ethics that attempts to provide philosophical (ethical) answers to new issues arising from advanced robotics; and a second level (Robot Ethics or Machine Ethics), derived from Roboethics, regarding the code of conduct that designers implement in the Artificial Intelligence of robots. Next, we shortly highlight that, alongside the techno-scientific idea of Robotics, there is also a Robotics ideology shaped over centuries as legends and myths by human’s ingenuity. This cluster of literary visions, wishes and hopes attributes to robots some magic powers embodied in their Artificial Intelligence, so that it is imagined that robots could “decide” autonomously their own behaviour, selected on the basis of a deep analysis of the context. How this ideology affects our idea of Robotics still today? As Case Study application, we compare some real ELS issues arising from self-driving vehicles use—as outlined by experts in the field—with some of Robotics Ideology idola as expressed by the most common interpretation of the so-called Trolley Paradox.