Category Archives: Robot Ethics

New Book: Transparency for Robots and Autonomous Systems

wordle for new book

After many months of writing, proof reading and waiting for printing, I'm delighted that my  book is now available. It's a very practical book, explaining why transparency is so important, followed by the details of experiments with various forms of transparency.

The book is based on my PhD research, but is expanded and extended, including an additional chapter to explain the importance of transparency within the wider context of accountability, responsibility and trust (ART). Here is a short extract from that new chapter:

Transparency as a Driver for Trust
.... I argue that although trust is complex, we can use system transparency to improve the quality of information available to users, which in turn helps to build trust. Further, organisational transparency drives both accountability and responsibility, which also bolster trust. Therefore transparency is an essential ingredient for informed trust. These relationships are illustrated in Figure 2.3.
System Transparency helps users better understand systems as they observe, interact or are otherwise affected by them. This informed understanding of system behaviour in turn helps users make appropriate use of systems.

System Transparency also supports accountability, by providing mechanisms that allow the system itself to offer some kind of ‘account’ for why it behaves as it does. It also provides mechanisms to facilitate traceability....

Organisational Transparency supports and encourages organisational accountability, and helps to develop a culture of responsibility....

Trust is built from a combination of informed system understanding, together with the knowledge that system providers are accountable and behave responsibly. Trust ultimately drives greater product acceptance and use....

In this book I also argue for the creation of transparency standards applicable to Autonomous Intelligent Systems (AIS) of all kinds. Standards will encourage transparency, and regulation may enforce it. This encourages business to develop cultures that embrace transparency in their processes and products.

Pile of my books

Wortham, Robert H., Transparency for Robots and Autonomous Systems: Fundamentals, Technologies and Applications, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2020 

ISBN-13: 978-1-78561-994-6 (eBook ISBN: 978-1-78561-995-3)

DOI: 10.1049/PBCE130E

Busy Times – Current Research Activity

This year seems to be rapidly getting very busy. In January, February and March I was flat out finishing my Arduino based R5 robot. We've been working with it on an ethics experiment. Many thanks to all those two participated in the research - your input was vital. We have a paper in review for that work now, … Continue Reading ››

Film: The Age of AI

I was recently interviewed for a new film about how AI impacts us today, and what the future may hold. Created by a Birmingham MA student, this film includes interviews from various academics in the field, including myself. It asks the questions everyone wants to ask about intelligent systems and robots; how they might change our … Continue Reading ››