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Project Description

Project Details

  • Project acronym: RoboLaw
  • Project title: Regulating Emerging Technologies in Europe: Robotics Facing Law and Ethics
  • Funding scheme: Collaborative project
  • Project number: 289092
  • Programme: Capacities
  • Call Identifier: FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2011- 1
  • Activity Code: SiS.2011.1.1.1-3: Regulating emerging scientific and technological developments
  • EU Financial Contribution: 1.497.966 EUR
  • Duration: 24 Months
  • Starting date: March 1st, 2012
  • Name of coordinating person: Prof. Erica Palmerini (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy)

Project Overview

The main aim of RoboLaw project is to investigate the ways in which emerging technologies in the field of (bio-) robotics (e.g. bionics, neural interfaces and nanotechnologies) have a bearing on the content, meaning and setting of the law. The interrelations between technical, legal and moral norms in this field will be analysed, in order to define what could be the best balance between them, and to promote a technically feasible, yet also ethically and legally sound basis for future robotics developments. Uncovering ethical values embedded into robotics technologies and identifying ethical issues arising from their use are also key elements of this research.

The most important outcome of the RoboLaw project will consist of some ethical and legal recommendations for the European Commission, in order to establish a solid framework of robotics ethics and robotics law in Europe.

Role of the LMU team within RoboLaw

The LMU team investigates a broad field of topics in philosophy and ethics, including the theory of rationality, political philosophy and the philosophy of science and technology. Its research is focused on ethical issues pertaining to the societal impact of innovations and technical solutions, such as with the new generation of robots, which are characterized by their coexistence and interaction with human beings in partially or non-structured and uncontrolled environments. Other topics of robo-ethics are also addressed, including: human enhancement, human-robot interaction, autonomy and responsibility. Discussing the current discourse on emerging technologies and on robotics, the LMU argues that any genuine ethical debate needs to overcome simplistic and sterile disputes between supporters and detractors, and to go beyond a naive forecasting discourse grounded in technology-based visions of the future.

Main project tasks: the LMU will address ethical issues and focus on the methodological and epistemological elements of ethical research. The LMU will coordinate Work Package 5 (WP5). With regard to content, the LMU’s specific input in WP5 will be the development of a sound methodology for identifying and analysing ethical issues. Furthermore, the LMU will participate in the elaboration of Guidelines on Regulating Robotics, by providing the ethical background for the analysis (WP6). The LMU will also contribute to external discussion and to the broad dissemination of materials realized during this project –through academic conferences and publishing in journals of high standing, keynote presentations as well as mainstream magazines and newspaper articles (WP7).