The role and capabilities of robots at the service of people

di Francesco Unali

The role of science and technology in the introduction of robots and that of philosophy in structuring the relationship between man and new machines were at the center of an open lesson last March 22nd organized by Consulting Committee with the aim of taking stock of the relationship between robots and human beings, highlighting the need to establish precise rules that base the value of human responsibility.

The speech by Professor Paola Ricci Sindoni underlined, in particular, how "the reflection on the capabilities that robots are assuming, as well as artificial intelligence and all intelligent systems, must not make us lose sight of their ultimate goal which is the person. Robots must be considered first and foremost as an enabling factor for the person, highly technological means to be put at the service of the good and well-being of the person".

Predictions on the number of robots within the world of work speak of their massive introduction by 2040. In a context that will not wait for the approval of laws or ask for authorizations to leave, the role of teachers, philosophers and jurists becomes urgent in understanding "if and how today's anthropological and ethical thought is able to move in this new scenario" recalls Ricci Sindoni.

Where reflection and action become concrete, as in the research laboratories ofUniversità Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, and the comparison between doctors and ingengineers to create increasingly personalized medicine and the concept of responsibility become increasingly central, "it is there that we come into profound contact with the meaning that a technology can take on when it enters the gestures that make up our lives - explains Ricci Sindoni - Innovative technological solutions capable of replacing human capabilities require robust results, that is, capable of reproducing the complexity that our mind and heart are normally able to manage. Thus moral philosophy and its values ​​fully enter the sphere of technology and the responsibility of scientists is enriched with a further particularly incisive aspect”.

We don't know what role robots will really play in our future life but we urgently need to understand it starting from "a generating nucleus in the objectives and values ​​indicated by man. There are certainly clear limits today that we ourselves place (in the healthcare sector as in others) in considering men as the only subjects responsible for carrying out certain work tasks.

Once the traditional totalitarian vision of anthropocentrism has been overcome - concludes Professor Ricci Sindoni - a new perspective of the 'Human in the loop' could creep in, the human at the junction, at the crossroads of relationships, at the always dynamic and mobile point of a movement that cannot turn on itself, but which ensures that it is always man who makes the final decision".
The Man in the loop, but also 'at the end of the loop'.