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“[An] essential book… it is required reading as we seriously engage one of the most important debates of our time.”—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age From drones to Mars rovers—an exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future. In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of robotics today, debunking commonly held myths and exploring the rapidly changing relationships between humans and machines. Drawing on firsthand experience, extensive interviews, and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, Mindell takes us to extreme environments—high atmosphere, deep ocean, and outer space—to reveal where the most advanced robotics already exist. In these environments, scientists use robots to discover new information about ancient civilizations, to map some of the world’s largest geological features, and even to “commute” to Mars to conduct daily experiments. But these tools of air, sea, and space also forecast the dangers, ethical quandaries, and unintended consequences of a future in which robotics and automation suffuse our everyday lives. Mindell argues that the stark lines we’ve drawn between human and not human, manual and automated, aren’t helpful for understanding our relationship with robotics. Brilliantly researched and accessibly written, Our Robots, Ourselves clarifies misconceptions about the autonomous robot, offering instead a hopeful message about what he calls “rich human presence” at the center of the technological landscape we are now creating. From the Hardcover edition.
The robot population is rising on Earth and other planets. (Mars is inhabited entirely by robots.) As robots slip into more domains of human life--from the operating room to the bedroom--they take on our morally important tasks and decisions, as well as create new risks from psychological to physical. This makes it all the more urgent to study their ethical, legal, and policy impacts. To help the robotics industry and broader society, we need to not only press ahead on a wide range of issues, but also identify new ones emerging as quickly as the field is evolving. For instance, where military robots had received much attention in the past (and are still controversial today), this volume looks toward autonomous cars here as an important case study that cuts across diverse issues, from liability to psychology to trust and more. And because robotics feeds into and is fed by AI, the Internet of Things, and other cognate fields, robot ethics must also reach into those domains, too. Expanding these discussions also means listening to new voices; robot ethics is no longer the concern of a handful of scholars. Experts from different academic disciplines and geographical areas are now playing vital roles in shaping ethical, legal, and policy discussions worldwide. So, for a more complete study, the editors of this volume look beyond the usual suspects for the latest thinking. Many of the views as represented in this cutting-edge volume are provocative--but also what we need to push forward in unfamiliar territory.
When discussing the risk of introducing drones into the National Airspace System, it is necessary to consider the increase in risk to people in manned aircraft and on the ground as well as the various ways in which this new technology may reduce risk and save lives, sometimes in ways that cannot readily be accounted for with current safety assessment processes. This report examines the various ways that risk can be defined and applied to integrating these Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It also identifies needs for additional research and developmental opportunities in this field.
Globalization, understood as an intensification of modernism, has over the past fifty years been a powerful force for cultural change. This study examines how one aspect of globalization, Hollywood films, influences Japanese thinking as regards to human-nature relationships. A critical discourse analysis of the most popular cinematic texts in Japan during a five-year period (1997_2001) uncovers the latent ideologies and messages linked to a modern worldview. This interdisciplinary work evaluates the influence of these films by way of a descriptive survey of Japanese culture; data from a university student focus group; and an analysis of linguistic, behavioral, and attitudinal changes toward environmental issues. A holistic approach to curricular reform that grounds ecological principles in traditional perceptions of nature is proffered as a way of countering exogenous influences while restoring a sense of balance to the culture-ecosystem.

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