Schools Team Up to Make an Ethical Robot

Nao robot
UConn Today

Computer science and philosophy are working together at the University of Hartford and the University of Connecticut in hopes of creating an ethical robot.

Students and professors are doing the cutting-edge research with a robot named Nao.

The research is broken up into three projects that are focused on medical ethics.

The main project is getting Nao to remind patients when it is time to take their medicines and to do so in an ethical manner.

That ethical decision-making would be based on three factors: the good that can come from a patient taking the medication, the harm that could result from not taking the medication and respect for the patient's autonomy.

Another project focuses on Nao recognizing sounds, like if a patient is crying out for help.

"For example, Nao would think, 'Was that a good sound? Was that a bad sound? Do I need to take action?," said Timothy Becker, one of the students involved in the research.

The team says they are also having Fun with Nao by getting it to act out scences from the Star Wars Trilogy and dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Also at UConn, researchers from the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention are studying whether the robot holds the potential to help children with autism improve both their motor and their social communication skills.

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