The present life style and trend of humans are changing to machinery in environment of machines along with the rapid development technological changes and the globalization of the world. This has a huge impact in the humans in several ways. This essay discusses about the mutual domination of the Robotics in the human life, the mechanical revolution which substitutes human and the impacts of the ethical, social, legal and professional issues.
The Robotics has begun a basic necessity in the lives of human and has started dominating. The machines are used in several fields such as industrial purposes, surgeries and health care facilities, Aerospace and science, military operations and be identified human-like robots, pet robots, etc. Furthermore, attempts are being made to create sensorimotor machines which are also called socio-technical robots and have succeeded in some of the stages. The main feature of these robots would be to express feelings, understand humans and react accordingly.
The functionality of these Robotics would provide several kinds of beneficial usages for human lives; but in the meantime many problems and religious morals are to be faced; furthermore, ethical issues and social related impacts have to be faced in future as machines being equivalent to humans and could be substituted. The chances for the machines being threat for freedom and individuality of human life are much more.
The consideration and concern has to be given to the ethical, social, legal and professional issues when developing or creating is a top priority. These will be discussed in depth in the paragraphs below.
At least three protocols are to be mandatorily taken into consideration in the usage of machines for humans and ethics of robotics. They mention how people who are integrated in the robotic ethical systems, ethical people who design and use robots and the people, the users, should treat the robotics. The three rules and regulations created by Isaac Asimov around the year 1942 usage of Robots by human. These three legal provisions have to be mandatorily observed in the creation and usage of machines.
If the modern industry is taken, the usage of Robotics is an inevitable one. That is, smart machines are used as substitutes for the man power with optimized performance. These machines have the ability to execute tasks which are very difficult for or impossible to be done by humans with the least effort, precision and perfection in the smallest span of time. The impact of them can be seen in manufacturing of automobiles and several other industrial streams in a massive scale. However, it should be noted that machines substituting man power may lead to the possibility of several employees losing their employments in most instances. This is a very serious issue in social level. It is very pathetic that the economy of the employees is uncertain and their future is a question mark. Robots being used as alternative for man power in future may lead negative aspects such as unemployment, poverty and eventually thefts, robbery and other anti-social activities. This would be a major threat to the community. It can be foreseen that the impact of the machines being alternative to humans would be in the increase in the future and more possibilities of industrial revolution being emerged.
It is expected that the machines will not only dominate the industries but also several versatile fields in the future. This would lead the machines being enslaved as work force by the predominant humans. Suppose, when humans are working along with the machines and an injury or loss of life occurs due to electronic mishap then would be considered as the responsible for that? The machine? Or the person who created it? This is a major challenge in the ethical issue. An incident of human losing his life by machine occurred around the year 1981 (Kenji Urada case); this appears to be direct violation of UDHR [Article 3] and Human Right act 1998 [Article 2] as well. This industrial change may lead to shortage of special skilled staff and eventually difficult even to see one.The above is strongly regarded as unethical action according to Deontological which can be classified as an ethical issue.
The usage machines have also dominated the health care and management. They are replacing the doctors and nurses and in the meantime are used in the management of patients and caring of sick. They are used in surgeries to execute surgeries and also to assist the doctors in surgeries. Even though the machines have been a success in the management of patient and caring of the sick, several issues such as social, cultural and more than that the emotional to be faced. Humans are bound by feelings, love, affection, warmth and social and cultural morals. Would it be ethical to handover a human to machine for a surgery or health care attendance? What would happen when a condition of a patient changes during a surgery or in health care? Whether the machine would be able to take decision based on emotions or prompt actions according to the changes? What would be the extent of their flexibility and would they be flexible and take moral decisions on their own during such an instance? These lead to very serious problems and he patients many have to undergo stress, psychological impact and sometimes danger to their lives. These issues would have severe ethical and social impact. Further, who would be responsible for any loss of biometric and personal information or stolen medical history and records of any patient or those who are taken care by machines which is concerned legally against the data protection act of 1998, section 2 and as well violation of the computer misuse act, 1990 of United Kingdom due to the changes in the way of information handling? Whether the patients could expect the same love, affection and warmth from the machines as well?
The next development in the health and healthcare are discussed below. The most advancement is the machines being used in the healthcare of elders and children. Most of them are manufactured in Japan using the artificial intelligence (AI). In his interview to CNN, Heather Kelly had pointed out that sixteen percent of the world population by the year 2025 would be above the age of sixty five, which would approximately be 1.5 billion, according to Population Reference Bureau’s statement; she further stated that there would be enough trained personnel to care them and as an alternative machines would be need is a large scale. It is inferred from her interview that the need of them appears to be inevitable in caring the elders.
The P37 S65, the model of elder-care robot which is created by Antonio Espingardeiro (Member of the IEEE) is said to be one of the most advanced (AI technology) robot for the caring of elders. Even though these robots cannot provide physical and psychological support, they are help in need for the caring of elders if the social and cultural believes are left behind in the fast moving world where the caring of elders is a question mark. It would be a great opportunity to care them using these robots in the homes without them being sent to elder’s homes and institutions for care. Richard Orange has stated to The Guardian that the Government of Denmark has come forward to invest in robots to care elders and in the verge of the preliminary tasks for them. The caring of elders has been portrayed most relevantly by Jake Schreier in his movie “Robot and Frank” by was released in the year 2012.
The caring of elders using robots is ethically acceptable, but in the meantime robots being used for caring and attending of children are ethically a completely wrong concept. The current trend of the children is that they do not mingle with the society and stay alone enslaved by the effects of technological development; it is very sad that the technology has entrapped even them. Further, robots handling the care and attending the children would lead the infants and children to grow as human robot mingling with the robots and not getting the opportunity of gaining their knowledge and develop their abilities in their natural surroundings of the nature. This would be the seed to social, cultural and religious issues and problems in large scale. Dr. Noel Sharkey has elaborately discussed about this around the year 2008 in his article titled “The Ethical Frontiers of Robotics”.
Children are inspired by those who are close to them and take them as role models in their carriers and future lives. What would be future of children in an environment where robot and machines are doing all the tasks? Would the children become cold steel without any emotions and feelings as the robots?
Other than the caring and attending of the elders, infants and children, the AI has archived development in fulfilling the sexual needs of the humans according the mental and psychological changes of their minds. Sophisticated and very modern sex robots are produced and available in the market around the world since the year 2006 points out James Plafke in his article to the website called “ExtremeTech”. The use of them can be seen in large scales. There are ethically few advantages by these robots; they could be solution to fill the gaps in shortage of sex workers, sexually transmitted diseases and for any controversies related to sex and sexuality.
There would be several social and legislative issues that have to be confronted even though there are few advantages from the sex robots. The IBTimes Reporter’s 2012 release says that the usage of them at the utmost by the year 2050. University management professor Ian Yeoman and sexologist Michelle Mars, the two researchers of New Zealand, mention that by the year 2050 the robots would have a huge impact in sex tourism business activities. Their article was published as “Robots, Men and Sex Tourism” in The Dominion Post of New Zealand. Other than using the robots for the sexual needs of humans, the robots are being used to perform wedding ceremonies as well; such an event was held first ever in Tokyo, the capital city of japan. I-fairy, a four feet tall robot conducted the wedding ceremony of Tomohiro Shibata and Satoko Inoue. The so called robot weddings are common scene in several countries around the world now a day. A man and a woman joining by wedding complying with the various traditions, cultural and religious customs prevailing around the world; having it held by a robot is ethically un acceptable as it does not respect nor comply to the cultural norms and socially incorrect. The trend may change from using robots to fulfill the sexual needs of humans to marrying them in the near future. In this context the Deontological theory is identified as an unethical action and could be augmented similarly when analyzing thorough consequentiality theory.
The various aspects that have impact on the several robots are discussed here under the topic robotics vulnerability. Robots are created by humans even though they are created with the ability to use common sense and analyze rationally. Some other human could reprogram them to destroy human creations, for anti-social activities and any other purpose than they are created for. The word “not possible” is not in the dictionary of robotics which is the reason for the robots getting affected and being abandoned at most cases. This would lead the robots and humans getting victimized a worldwide issue. Aniruddha Guha (2010) states in her article that the 2010 movie “Enthiran” directed by Shanker pinpoints and very clearly pictured the adverse effects of robots being the cause of the robotics vulnerability; how a robot which was created with human feelings and ability to rationalize (artificial intelligence) for beneficial intention is changed into a one which does adverse effects for humans and how the feelings and emotions deal it is portrayed very well. Several moves with the plot of robotics vulnerability along with the social, ethical, professional and legal issues were made. They are Star Wars, WALL-E, A.I-Artificial Intelligence, The Terminator, Robocop, iRobot etc. Even though they have been enriched with the imaginative ideas and concepts, there are possibilities that these might occur in the future with the technological advancements.
The vulnerability of robotics increases each day with the advancement in the technology and it is unpredictable how and when robots are affected by the vulnerabilities; they are hacking, malwares, viruses and being programming for adverse intentions. This makes each and every country, their Governments, their diplomatic activities and their military defense systems from the individuality of each and every individual and their independent lifestyle question marks. Necessary preventive action should be taken care of in order for them not to function other than intended.
Next, if the usages of robots in worldwide warfare, the super power countries are using robots which are made especially according to their requirements to strengthen their military stances, show to other countries that they are superiors to others in strength and to prove it at warfronts. It should be noted that usage of such robots had been used during the World Wars I and II. Robots which were created in 1898 to be operated by radio waves had been used. Germany and Russia have widely used Teletanks and Goliaths during the wars. Robots in military field are used for several usages such as substituting humans (soldiers), unmanned vehicles, monitoring aircrafts, transportation of military supplies and injured personnel, diffusing of mines and bombs and espionage activities. These activities of robots are used to control terrorism and extremism which is socially a huge benefit.
Ivan Ackerman in his interview to Spectrum web magazine in 2014 that America is planning to enroll one hundred thousand robots in its army; it is being introduced as the number of persons joining the army is decreasing compared to the previous years and there is a need to substitute the shortage of soldiers with robots. The usage of robots instead of humans should be appreciated as it would reduce the loss of human lives and the battle would a fast victorious one with best tactics identifying the enemies. There are possibilities at the same time that losses, causalities and damages occurring to the same side by the robots used in the war during a battle.
Would it be ethically acceptable on the other as robot soldiers and equipment are used against the opposing human soldiers? Whether electronic wastes being heaped on one side and lives of humans being lost on the other side is acceptable? Can the robots be considered as equivalent to humans? Whether the robots will have the same humanitarian view during at battle front? Would the robots understand the feelings and emotions due to causalities at war? Human lives are much more valuable than robots! Would robots be able to differentiate innocent people and not victimizing them during a war? Would the safety of innocent humans and properties be guaranteed? These are very serious ethical issues!
Bob Kovach pointed out during his interview to the web magazine CNN in 2010 that during experimental sessions an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) belonging to the U.S. Army lost its control, flew for twenty three minutes on its own will and hovered over White House and several other governmental locations in Washington, D.C. These are high security zones and cannot be entered without prior approvals; this incident is an example of vulnerability in robotics and a serious threat to the security as well.
Noah Shachtman states in his article to WIRED of 2007 that a semi-automatic military robot in South Africa had killed nine and severely injured fourteen of the same side not functioning as intended due to some technical failure. Who should be blamed for during such an adverse effect due to vulnerabilities, the robot, the operator or the creator?
This is a serious issue to the man and his community. It is breech of articles 1a and 4a of BCS code of conduct (2012) and a professional issue. The creator should take several factors into consideration when creating robots. The regulations of Isaac Asimov which were discussed earlier should be abided and be compliance to professional ethics be ensured when creating a new technology, change of functionalities, proper planning or testing and it is expected that all industries should abide by the computer security act of 1987, United States.
The robots that are used for demining and diffusing of bombs are mainly used in the developed countries. If the impact of them is compared to that of our country, the humanitarian news and analysis (irinnews.org) report of 2009 mentions that the number of mines and other unexploded ordinance in the North is around 1.5 million and spreads over approximately 400 square kilometer area. It obstructs the resettlement of people in the area and their daily livelihood activities. Even today manpower is used for the demining and diffusing and may take several years to complete it. It should be noted that several incidents of humanitarian demines as well as innocent civilians have died or injured have occurred. It should be noted that using robots for these activities would prevent human losses and injuries in developed countries; in the meantime the likelihood that the developing (third world) countries deploying such robot or modern technology is very less. This is a social issue as there is a huge gap in the technological development when two countries are compared and contrasted and also it could impact on UDHR [Article 27].
If military robots such as unmanned aircrafts and drones (small flying device) used for surveillance activities, their current usages are enormous. They are mainly used to spot the locations of enemies, attack with precision, monitor and control their activities. They are also used for researches, inventions and several other activities; they play a major role in the space researches.
Alexei Molotkov in his interview to Voice of Russia mentioned that America has allocated a huge amount of money in its budget for 2015 for the research and creation of spy planes, unmanned aerial vehicles and especially drones. Even though this in intended with the concern for national security, it may be a threat to the freedom and privacy of individuals, their daily chores and lives. The information’s, especially private and sensitive information, of people are collect without their consent and even without their knowledge! These individuals run their daily lives and activities being not aware that they are being under surveillance all the time which is breech of UDHR article 12. How could this be reasonable? Be justified? What is the guarantee that people with the evil or adverse intentions and hackers will not access to these sensitive information? The victims are the innocent civilians, their individual freedom, privacy and their valuable sensitive information. This is also a very serious ethical issue. In other words, a book The Gift of Fire states that, “surveillance camera alone can raise some privacy issues, when combined with face recognition systems” (Base, 2008), that is the purpose of cameras is not limited to monitoring of terrorists but also the public, mostly against their privacy, as well.
On the other hand the deontological theory mentions that this type of action is not at all acceptable and listed as an ethical issue, consequentiality theory justifies this action as the robots are mainly deployed in gathering data of terrorists and criminals who are threat to the peace and harmony of the country.
The increased usage of the machines in the future may lead to more need for electricity supply when the electricity production is getting diminished. If the demand of a resource is more than its availability then the chances are high that it would get extinct in future. The usage of electricity therefore is not unethical according to Deontological theorem.
The modern mechanical revolution has enabled the disabled and handicapped the opportunity for them to live same as of a normal person. Their physical drawbacks are resolved by robots and are benefitted a lot. Handicapped have the same respect and status in the society. This is asocial benefit for them. Stephen Hawking, one of the famous scientists, serves the world with inventions, activities and researches with the aid of robots being almost fully paralyzed. This is a very good example for the positive aspects of robots.
The conclusion of the critical analysis is that the robots provide several benefits and an essential one to the current life, but several social, ethical and professional issues have to be faced as well. The robots and machines are created and utilized by humans; leading them to destruction and adverse aspect are also by humans. Development in compliance too legislations, the regulations and proper monitoring would lead the future to the betterment; otherwise the era of war between humans would be over and the battle of humans against machines in not very far in future.
Although the robots would be able to care elders they would not be in a position to fulfill all the expectations. The elder would be expecting their remaining lifetime to be spent happily and peacefully with their families and relatives. They would be infants in their minds event though they are older with their age and would be expecting love and affection from those who are beside them. This is a social and ethical issue.