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Social Issues Of Robots in The Future

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Is an influence of robot usage in everyday life so serious issue that all of us should think about it? It is very fascinating that Computer Science professor, Noel Sharkey, thought deeply about the ethical principles of robots and wrote “The Ethical Frontier of Robotics”. He discusses possible results of robots if they take care of little children and elders, as well as what will happen if we allow robots to fight in wars without human intersections. In my opinion, it is unethical behavior if we children and elders are left under robot’s care. Therefore, I totally agree on Sharkey that we ought to think many times and be attentive until we allow robots to do such things.

According to Sharkey (2008) one of three ethical risks occurs when robots look after little children. He told readers about South Korean and Japanese robots which are able to entertain babies. Engineers developed ways that allow robots to recognize faces, speech, conduct verbal quiz games, and have a conversation. However, machine learning and Artificial intelligence are unable to have emotions and feelings. Thus, with all benefits of robots, they still can not express love and provide care. Children can play by robots but not with robots. Humans naturally learn how to communicate with children, he can learn what playing style the child likes.

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Researches on monkeys show that social dysfunction is likely to occur when animals develop attachments only to something like robots. Based on my personal experience, I can surely claim that this is 100% true. I know several young children who spent 8-10 hours on computer activities, for instance, watch online shows, play games, found it difficult to have real-life communications, even though they were good at chatting online. I don’t want to imagine what will happen if we make robots take care of our children. They might become the most socially isolated generation that has ever existed on earth.

According to Sharkey (2008) many robots have already been created in order to help elder people in a household and taking care. One of them can feed, others can assist elderly take a bath, help them organize medicine-taking. On the other hand, it is undeniable that older people need other humans more than others. They need to have conversations, share their personal stories; these tasks help them feel alive. Moreover, researches show that as people get older their learning skills decrease. I remembered a very funny video where children of a lovely older woman try to teach her how to use Google Home, it was a hard process because she could not even pronounce “Google” correctly; when she successfully asked Google Home about weather and got the answer, she was shocked. All in all, some tools may be used to help elderly get their life easier but these people must not be left with only robots, they don’t deserve such treatment.

The last issue I want to discuss is a role of robots in the future army. In Sharkey’s view robots usage for military purposes can lead to the death of more innocent people including children. He claims that some semiautonomous unmanned combat air vehicles have already caused it. However, as far as I know last time when USA bombs ISIS territories by drones there was almost no innocent civilians died; because of its accuracy only target buildings were demolished. This made me think that people can use semiautonomous vehicles in military. Although I agree Mr Sharkey that no algorithms or Artificial intelligence are able to identify combatants and innocents in a close-contact encounter. If this human use completely self-manageable robots, it may lead to a mistake or even worse, theoretically, robots could unify and take control over humans.

Taking everything into account, I believe that we should not take care our children by robots because no one knows what effect can it have in a long-term period. Also we should not leave our lovely elderly under robots’ care; instead we ought to appreciate their needs and spend as much time as possible with them. Lastly, I think human may use only semiautonomous robots in very tough circumstances.


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