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Humans and Automata

A Social Study of Robotics


Riccardo Campa

The book takes a close look at the social dimensions of robotics. It examines some of the projects on which robotic engineers are presently working, explores the dreams and hopes connected with these undertakings and determines if there is a relation between automation and unemployment within the socio-economic system. Furthermore, it explores the possible futures generated by the development of artificial intelligence and outlines the core ideas of roboethics. Last but not least, it examines the systems of military robots, with special emphasis on the ethical issues raised by the design, construction and utilization of these systems of weaponry.
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I am beholden to the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland – my academic home – for having granted me the academic freedom required for intellectual exploration and heterodoxy. I am grateful to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) for having started a stimulating debate on robotization and technological unemployment, and in particular to its director James Hughes. I thank the Military Centre for Strategic Studies (Centro Militare Studi Strategici – Ce.Mi.S.S.) of the Italian Ministry of Defence for having appointed me director of a research project on robotic weapons and hostile artificial intelligence. In particular, I thank Italian Air Force colonel Volfango Pierluigi Monaci for having read and reviewed my research. A debt of gratitude is also due to the Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements (Przemy-słowy Instytut Automatyki i Pomiarów – PIAP) in Warsaw for having invited me to collaborate within their RoboScope seminar, which provided me the opportunity to learn much about the perspectives of engineers and military personnel on the use of robots within special operations.

I am grateful to Stefan Lorenz Sorgner for his sustained encouragement and his patience; Luciano Pellicani, Warren Breckman, Mario Bunge, Piotr Sztompka, Michael Burawoy, Neil Smelser, Jeffrey Alexander, Lech Witkowski, Kazimierz Krzysztofek, Krzysztof Frysztacki, Jarosław Górniak, Michel Kowalewicz, Maria Flis, and Anthony Giddens for stimulating discussions which have helped to broaden my knowledge on social and cultural processes.

I am particularly indebted to Catarina Lamm for having translated my Italian writings on...

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