21 Oct Autonomous Systems: Social, Legal and Ethical Issues
Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng) 2009
Autonomous systems are likely to emerge in a number of areas over the coming decades. These technologies can promise great benefits, replacing humans in tasks that are mundane, dangerous and dirty, or detailed and precise. They also have potential in allowing the remote performance of various functions. However such technologies raise a number of social, legal and ethical issues. The focus of this short document is on two emerging areas of technology – transport, in terms of autonomous road vehicles; and personal care and support, in the form of artificial companions and smart homes. It is a report of the discussion at a roundtable meeting held at The Royal Academy of Engineering. The meeting involved stakeholders from a range of areas, including medicine and healthcare, transport, defence, systems engineering, computer science, financial systems, public engagement and policy development.