Nov 30, 2015
Posted by Dan Faggella in categories: ethics, robotics/AI
As the line between tabloid media and mainstream media becomes more diffuse, news items such as Ebola, pit bulls, Deflategate, and Donald Trump can frequently generate a cocktail of public panic, scrutiny, and scorn before the news cycle moves on to the next sensational headline. According to Robotics Expert and self-proclaimed “Robot Psychiatrist” Dr. Joanne Pransky, the same phenomenon has happened in robotics, which can shape public perception and, by extension, the future development of robots and AI.
“The challenge, since robotics is just starting to come into the mainstream, is that most of the country is ignorant. So, if you believe what you read, then I think people have a very negative and inaccurate picture (of robotics),” Pransky said. “I spend a lot of time bashing negative headlines, such as ‘ROBOT KILLS HUMAN,’ when actually the human killed himself by not following proper safety standards. A lot of things are publicized about robotics, but there’s nothing about the robot in the article. It leads people on the wrong path.”
Hedging the Negative Media
Pransky has spent much of her time trying to present an accurate depiction and provoke thoughtful discussion about robotics that separates fact from science fiction, as elaborated upon in this well-written TechRepublic article. To that end, she’s spent almost her entire career educating the public on the real issues facing robots and robotics. Showing an actual robot in action, she believes, is the best way to educate the public about the potential, and limits, of robotics.