RoboTIPS: Developing Responsible Robots for the Digital Economy, aims to develop a new approach to responsible innovation (RI) in the context of trustworthy and secure technologies. The principle challenge is to embed responsible innovation into technology developers’ practices and to create positive cases of RI in action.
The 5 year project is an EPSRC Established Career Digital Economy Fellowship awarded to Professor Marina Jirotka. it is in collaboration with Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England. Marina and Alan have been working together for some time to develop the concept of the ‘ethical black box’. This advocates that robots should be equipped with a ‘black box’, equivalent to the flight data recorders used in aviation. The black box continuously records sensor and relevant internal status data and can be extended in scope to also capture the AI decision-making process and environmental factors occurring before an adverse incident. This data can provide crucial evidence following accidents or adverse incidents involving robots. The information provided can help us to understand why a robot behaved in the way it did and then make recommendations for changes to prevent similar incidents or limit the potential damage caused. The ethical black box thus provides a pathway to greater safety and public trust in robots.
The project brings together an experienced team of researchers, including Dr Helena Webb, who works closely with Marina as part of the Human Centred Computing theme at Oxford.
Throughout the 5 years, Marina and her team will develop:
- a grounded approach to RI for technology in the digital economy
- practical methods for developers of autonomous systems to design accountable technologies
- new modes of accountability and new concepts of liability suitable for collectives of both human and robot agent
- a first concrete example of a Digital Economy technology developed through a responsible innovation approach
- PI: Marina Jirotka
- Researcher: Helena Webb