Robots and Privacy
ROBOT ETHICS: THE ETHICAL AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF ROBOTICS, Patrick Lin, George Bekey, and Keith Abney, eds., Cambridge: MIT Press, Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 4 May 2010
Date Written: April 2, 2010
It is not hard to imagine why robots raise privacy concerns. Practically by definition, robots are equipped with the ability to sense, process, and record the world around them. Robots can go places humans cannot go, see things humans cannot see. Robots are, first and foremost, a human instrument. And after industrial manufacturing, the principle use to which we’ve put that instrument has been surveillance.
Yet increasing the power to observe is just one of ways in which robots may implicate privacy within the next decade. This chapter breaks the effects of robots on privacy into three categories — direct surveillance, increased access, and social meaning — with the goal of introducing the reader to a wide variety of issues. Where possible, the chapter points toward ways in which we might mitigate or redress the potential impact of robots on privacy, but acknowledges that in some cases redress will be difficult under the current state of privacy law.
Keywords: robots, robotics, privacy
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