Social Robotics and Symbiotic Autonomous Systems with Roberto Saracco - A Seeking Delphi™ Episode
Seeking Delphi™ - April 2018

How we use robots, how we communicate and interact–and ultimately control them–is critical. IEEE, ever in the forefront of maintaining standard practices and ethical approaches to technology, is directly in the fray on this one, with its Initiative on Symbiotic Autonomous Systems. Roberto Saracco, a noted computer scientist and educator from Turin, Italy, is co-director of the initiative; and leads us in today's episode.

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IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Webinar: Sentiment Analysis: from “Smart” City to “Happy” City - 10 April 2018

Derrick de KerckhovePresenter: Derrick de Kerckhove

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Although automated for text analysis since the late 1960s, Sentiment Analysis (SA) has been around since the invention of literature criticism. Henceforth addressed to the audience, not to the text, SA has been developed technically at least since 2002. It has, however, only recently been given prominence, owing to the manifold increase of available data, in particular thanks to social media. It is both an IoT and a Smart City issue.

What SA amounts to is the new possibility for institutions and businesses to listen to clients, patients, customers and citizens instead of simply imposing regulations, services and products. Of course, SA can offer advantage to various fields including health, municipal affairs, public administration, political process and policy evaluation, transportation, banking, insurance, security and business. SA has also become sufficiently affordable and relatively easy to make it valuable, if not mandatory, for public administrations to keep tabs on their charges’ feelings about their operation. The idea of the “happy city”, albeit naïve, is responding that of the “smart” city, bringing precisely an emotional content to what planners tend to measure in terms of efficiency. SA adds another set of criteria to manage smart cities and make use of available IoT. SA invites different levels of administration to target a significantly higher level of satisfaction within the social body. It is already happening in some cities. I will give examples both from case studies and from artists whose works hint at social emotion.

This approach could be particularly useful in the context of Singapore and other Asian cities that have made a great leap forward over European or American cities in terms of maximizing the adroit usage of IoT sensors present in their very large distribution of smartphones and public cameras.

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IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems: When Will I "Friend" My Phone? - February 2018

Tom CoughlinPresenter: Tom Coughlin
Coughlin Associates, Inc.
IEEE Consumer Electronics Society

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Things are getting smarter. New technologies are creating intelligence and connectivity in almost everything, and we are creating more and more things that are essentially digital objects. These digital objects are not just hardware. In many cases, their value and functionality is increasingly governed by software -- whether it's embedded firmware, the operating system, or actual apps. However, if everything essentially becomes a digital object, there are many legal implications that come into the picture. Who owns your things in the future? What are some of the legal issues that we need to sort out in order to maintain the things that we value? Are digital devices and AI our friends or competitors? In this IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems webinar, Tom Coughlin looks at the broader sense of what's going in consumer electronics to address these questions.

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IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems: Autonomy & Ethical, Legal, and Societal Considerations - 25 July 2017

Raj MadhavanPresenter: Raj Madhavan
IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Co-Chair

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Today, we are at a crossroads, on the cusp of significant transformative changes that will impact society worldwide, revolutionizing global business operations and fundamentally altering how inanimate objects are perceived in a world increasingly reliant on autonomous systems. A key outcome of this transformation will be a notable shift in the interaction of previously independent systems, including humans, and an increased awareness and responsiveness to autonomous systems that will lead to the development of symbiotic relationships that have significant implications for human society as a whole.

The IEEE Future Directions Symbiotic Autonomous Systems (SAS) Initiative is taking a leadership role in fostering consensus on how best to bring about symbiotic relationships between autonomous systems, and capitalize on the recognition that SAS are poised to have a revolutionary impact on society over the coming years. Given the intertwining and coupling of interacting systems and humans, the Initiative will have to inevitably grapple with the very notion of autonomy within the context of symbiotic systems. It is anticipated that the Initiative will facilitate the development of a new field of Symbiotic Systems Science (SSS) to consolidate and advance technological expertise. Ethical, legal, and societal (ELS) challenges that accompany the development of such emerging and interacting technologies also need to be viewed with a lens that takes into account underlying considerations and constraints. This webinar will, thus, discuss some of these challenges and will outline the ongoing efforts that are being undertaken to facilitate interactions within the IEEE and among the wider robotics, automation, and AI communities.

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IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems: A path from now to the future - 8 June 2017

Roberto SaraccoPresenter: Roberto Saracco
IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Co-Chair

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Symbiotic Autonomous Systems may be seen as a next step in the digital age. The age of computers has fostered automation of many activities and its performances have enabled the creation of new ones. The age of “digital” is harvesting the computer productions, the 0 and I, the bits, giving rise to a parallel World, the cyberspace. In the coming decades we are bound to see progress in both the "computerization" of the World and in its digitalization. These two trends will strengthen one another and will overlap creating the age of Symbiotic Autonomous Systems, SAS.

The progress in computerization is leading to increasing "robotization" of objects and to a seamless presence in our everyday life. We are already commuting using robots and in a few more decades our cars will be robots. Vacuum cleaners robots no longer make headlines and my grandchildren are growing with a playground populated by robots. The sheer number and variety of computerized/robotized objects will seamlessly morph into a fabric of connected objects out of which an overall "behavior" will arise. On the other side, digitalization creates an expanding cyberspace formed by islands that will progressively be connected with one another. These two worlds will get more and more intertwined. We are part of this evolving ambient and we are interacting with both computerized / robotized objects and with the cyberspace. More than that. We are a "component" of this ambient, we live in symbiosis with it and soon enough robots will live in symbioses with us. It will go a step further: loT will become part of our body and artificial organs will become normal in the third decade of this century. These embedded devices will become symbiotic with us (nothing new here, we are living in symbioses with billions of bacteria, they actually outnumber our cells!) and will improve our body Communications capabilities with our ambient extending our symbiotic life.

Symbioses in nature seems just to happen, it is not planned nor it is the result of an agreement between the symbiotic partners. That will be similar, in many cases, in the symbioses among artifacts (and artifacts and humans) once the artifacts will grow to become self adapting. The “autonomous” qualification is important. It does not necessarily mean that each partner can live independently of the other (we cannot live without our symbiotic bacteria), it means that each partner is behaving according to its own “rules”, and the symbiotic relation binds the two autonomies, as it would happen in self driving vehicles in a smart city. The “system” qualification is also important. The future will see behavior and “meaning” stemming from complexity and this, in turns, is a side effect of systems. A single IoT will not qualify to become a partner in a symbiotic relation, but a system comprising several IoTs, interconnections, data, and intelligence will.

Hence this FDC initiative stemming from a vision of future built by independent players that will work independently but will leverage on one another giving rise to new life forms. Welcome to symbiotic autonomous systems!

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