Robots are increasingly a part of our daily lives - but what happens when they meet the internet of things?

PICNIC Festival Day 1: Robots meet the Internet of Things...
Robot/human interaction presents a number of difficult questions - like how can I keep my robot from being a snitch?

The workshop “Robiots: Robots and the Internet of Things” focused on the questions, tasks, methods and communications that need to be considered when working with robots.

One of the major questions that struck an emotional chord among the participants of the workshop was: How can you trust a ‘health’ robot, so it will use information for your own good not against you? For example, one participant's question was about ‘privacy and robots’: “If I’m doing something unhealthy like smoking/ drinking and a robot sees this, how can I keep the robot from sharing this data with the system, aka keep the robot from being a snitch?" One answer is to take into account that, as long you own the robot, you own the data and how it is used. But what if the insurance company owns the robot?

Presenter Alessandro Bassi felt that many of these questions were fuelled by sci-fi movies which have created an image of ‘doom’ around the idea of working with robots. He states it is still a challenge to convince people that robots do not bring catastrophes but are innovations that can bring about good. Therefore, he believes we need a change our perception on robotics.

Contributed by Hortense Koster

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