SEP 08, 2018 11:16 PM PDT

Creating Animal-Friendly Machines

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image Source/Credit: South Bend Tribune

A fairly young and dynamic discipline, the study of machine ethics is geared towards humans. However, now the field is being pushed towards animals to protect them from harm since they cannot make ethical decisions on their own. Semi-autonomous and autonomous machines and robots may be used as moral machines using annotated decision trees that contain ethical assumptions or justifications for animal interactions. There has been several prototypes of semi-autonomous and autonomous machines that were developed by FHNW University in Brugg-Windisch, Switzerland with the intentions of not startling wild animals. These prototypes include “ladybird-friendly robot vacuum cleaner, a self-driving car, a drone study for nature photography and advanced driver assistance systems”.

In the article "Towards animal-friendly machines", written by Professor Oliver Bendel of the FHNW School of Business and published in the Journal of Behavioral Robotics, described how annotated decision trees intended for animal-friendly moral machines are now being created and compared while developing moral justifications transparent.

Credit: Animals Worlds

To illustrate, the modeling for the drone was created to ignore humans and to avoid harming flying birds as well as identifying skittish animals and only photographing them from an appropriate height. Another example is the robot vacuum cleaner which was programmed to identify ladybirds by their color, and instructed to stop vacuuming until an insect has moved away. Furthermore, the owner of a machine can control the morality of a machine by presetting it to spare ladybirds, but instead to set it to vacuum undesirable insects and other invasive species. Although this does not seem to be animal-friendly it can be justified if it includes harm and danger, such as a vermin-free house.

"Both robotics and computer science must be sensitized to animal protection and advocates for animal ethics should follow developments in robotics and artificial intelligence and should be involved in both," explains Professor Bendel.

Source: De Gruyter

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 28, 2018
Cardiology
SEP 28, 2018
Lifesaving Technology, Inspired by Tradition
Pediatric cardiologist Franz Freudenthal discusses his inspiration for the development of a medical device saves children with congenital heart defects. In...
OCT 05, 2018
Earth & The Environment
OCT 05, 2018
Visualizing your home's air quality
Air quality is largely invisible. But what if you could see it? I’m not talking about air pollution that’s so bad that the whole city is covere...
OCT 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 10, 2018
OnSight Lets Scientists Study the Martian Surface with Virtual Reality
NASA’s Curiosity rover has been physically exploring the surface of Mars since 2012, but as it rolls along, it sends surface data back to scientists...
NOV 13, 2018
Technology
NOV 13, 2018
Here's Why Hydrogen-Powered Cars Haven't Become Mainstream
The automobile industry today is still dominated by gasoline-powered vehicles, but electric cars like those from Tesla are gaining a lot of traction in the...
NOV 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2018
International Space Station Receives Fresh Supplies From Back-to-Back Rocket Launches
Both the United States and Russian space agencies share the burden of sending fresh food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station every few m...
NOV 25, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 25, 2018
NASA's RRM3 Will Bring Us One Step Closer to In-Space Refueling
Possessing the ability to refuel spacecraft in outer space isn’t just something you’ve seen in your favorite science fiction movies, it’s...
Loading Comments...