Schlagworte: Animal-Machine Interaction

AI’s Next Ethical Challenge

Parallel to his work in machine ethics, Oliver Bendel is trying to establish animal-machine interaction (AMI) as a discipline. He was very impressed by Clara Mancini’s paper „Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI): A Manifesto“ on animal-computer interaction. In his AMI research, he mainly investigates robots, gadgets, and devices and their behavior towards animals. There are not only moral questions, but also questions concerning the design of outer appearance and the ability to speak. The general background for his considerations is that more and more machines and animals meet in closed, half-open and open worlds. He believes that semi-autonomous and autonomous systems should have rules so that they treat animals well. They should not disturb, frighten, injure or kill them. Examples are toy robots, domestic robots, service robots in shopping malls and agricultural robots. Jackie Snow, who writes for New York Times, National Geographic, and Wall Street Journal, has talked to several experts about the topic. In an article for Fast Company, she quotes the ethicists Oliver Bendel and Peter Singer. Clara Mancini is also expressing her point of view. The article with the title „AI’s next ethical challenge: how to treat animals“ can be downloaded here.

Fig.: A couple of elephants

Save the Hedgehogs!

Between June 2019 and January 2020, the sixth artifact of machine ethics will be created at the FHNW School of Business. Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel is the initiator, the client and – together with a colleague – the supervisor of the project. Animal-machine interaction is about the design, evaluation and implementation of (usually more sophisticated or complex) machines and computer systems with which animals interact and communicate and which interact and communicate with animals. Machine ethics has so far mainly referred to humans, but can also be useful for animals. It attempts to conceive moral machines and to implement them with the help of further disciplines such as computer science and AI or robotics. The aim of the project is the detailed description and prototypical implementation of an animal-friendly service robot, more precisely a mowing robot called HAPPY HEDGEHOG (HHH). With the help of sensors and moral rules, the robot should be able to recognize hedgehogs (especially young animals) and initiate appropriate measures (interruption of work, expulsion of the hedgehog, information of the owner). The project has similarities with another project carried out earlier, namely LADYBIRD. This time, however, more emphasis will be placed on existing equipment, platforms and software. The first artifact at the university was the GOODBOT – in 2013.

Fig.: A happy hedgehog

The fusion of animal and machine ethics

Der Artikel „Considerations about the relationship between animal and machine ethics“ von Oliver Bendel ist im Januar 2016 in der gedruckten Version der Zeitschrift Artificial Intelligence & Society erschienen. Er stellt Tierethik und Maschinenethik in einen Zusammenhang. Im Abstract heißt es: „Ethics researches morality in respect to humans and animals. Usually, it implies human morality; therefore, the focus is on human-human relationships (generally in ethics) and human-animal relationships (in animal ethics). Ethics can also deal with the morality of machines such as unmanned aerial vehicles, robots and agents or of self-driving cars and computers in automated trading, in other words more or less autonomous systems and programs.“ Auf solche Systeme wird eingegangen, aber nicht im Verhältnis zum Menschen, sondern zum Tier. Und das ist innerhalb der Maschinenethik immer noch – die Onlineversion ist bereits 2013 erschienen – neu. Am Rande wird eine Disziplin der Tier-Maschine-Interaktion (Animal-Machine Interaction) vorgeschlagen. Diese wird im Beitrag „Überlegungen zur Disziplin der Tier-Maschine-Interaktion“ näher diskutiert und im April auf einem Workshop an der Universität Bochum im Rahmen des DFG-Forschungsprojekts „Das verdatete Tier“ vorgestellt. „Considerations about the relationship between animal and machine ethics“ kann über die Website von Springer heruntergeladen werden.


Abb.: Soll das Auto für die Kuh bremsen?