Aimee van Wynsberghe was born in London, Ontario, where she did a bachelor’s degree in cell biology. She left Canada to do a master’s degree in Applied Ethics and Bio Ethics and later her PhD in robot ethics in the Netherlands. In 2015, she co-founded the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, which she is co-directing today together with Shannon Vallor. Aimee van Wynsberghe is living in The Hague, working as an Assistant Professor in Ethics and Technology at the TU Delft.
Science journalist Caroline Ring talked to van Wynsberghe about the ethical issues involved in developing and using robots.
Robots in a daily life seem to be a future vision. Why should one be concerned about robot ethics today?
Most people probably think that they don’t interact with a robot each day. But robots are involved in a lot of things we do in a day like robots in a distribution centre when you do online shopping or when things have to be assembled in the factory.
To what extent is ethics related to the development of robots?
It’s not about the robots acting unethically, it’s about the choices the humans at the top of a company are making that are unethical. And ethics is related to development of a robot by how the designers and developers act ethically.