News Brief: RobotRadar.org Seeks To Tell the Rest of the Story-Carnegie Mellon News - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, December 3, 2012

News Brief: RobotRadar.org Seeks To Tell the Rest of the Story

Robotics Researchers Comment on News Coverage of Robotics

Contact: Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 / bspice@cs.cmu.edu

A new website, co-founded by Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, will share the insights of leading thinkers and experts in robotics regarding the popular news media’s coverage of robotics.

Through thoughtful articles and commentaries, RobotRadar.org explores the wider impacts of robots and robotics on society. Each report is written by a robotics expert in response to an article published in the popular media.

Constrained by space and deadlines, popular reporting of robotics often merely scratches at the surface and fails to accurately reflect the underlying science, or fully explore the social and ethical ramifications of research developments, the site’s founders say.

“We wanted to create a mechanism that would allow roboticists to comment critically on news reports,” Nourbakhsh said, “allowing them to add in the caveats and more subtle analyses that will lead to more informed debate about the role and place of robots in society.”

“Robohype is a real problem,” said RobotRadar’s co-founder, Prof. Alan Winfield of The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) Science Communication Unit. “People reading the mainstream press could be forgiven for thinking that present-day robots are capable of human reasoning, have feelings or behave ethically.”

In addition to Nourbakhsh and Winfield, the contributors include Matthew T. Mason, director of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute; Henrik I Christensen of Georgia Tech, Kerstin Dautenhahn of the University of Hertfordshire, Benjamin Kuipers of the University of Michigan, Maja J Mataric of the University of Southern California, and Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield.

Visit RobotRadar.org or follow on Twitter @Robot_Radar.