What is Robotic and A.I. Governance?
In the past, business economists believed in the concept of the homo oeconomicus. The main scientific apporach of economy was based on shareholders maximizing their profits in order to survive in competition. On the other hand, there are many companies which engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and are still very successful. This should be impossible according to the classic economic concept of perfect competition. However, we know today that the truth is not that simple.
Business ethics suggests that the public welfare should be the main goal of economic activity and that a globalized economy combined with a dialogue of all stakeholders will result in peace. Science should not be practiced randomly for its own sake. It should, on the contrary, serve the purpose of an enhancement of our life.
Robotic and A.I. Governance wants to engage all stakeholders in a dialogue about the ethical, moral, socio-cultural, socio-political and socio-economic consequences of new technologies in the field of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. These disruptive technologies could have a huge impact on our society and even pose a potential thread for humankind. But on the other hand, many people could profit from e.g. robots performing dangerous or unpleasant jobs, helping with household chores or enabling elderly people to remain an active part of society.
To solve this dilemma with a worldwide and binding law is of course unlikely and maybe even impossible. Therefore, the approach of the Robotics & A.I. Governance Foundation is to offer a framework of voluntary guidelines, the Robot Manifesto. This framework will be developed in a dialogue that involves all stakeholders and regularly updated taking new requirements that may arise out of technological progress or a change in demand into account.
The concept of Robotic Governance is the topic of several scientific publications, including the dissertation project (ongoing) of Dominik Bösl, founder and chairman of the Robotics & A.I. Governance Foundation. It is still at the very beginning, but the keen interest of the scientific community as well as politics and the press shows that it is a subject of paramount importance.
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You want to learn more about the republican approach of business ethics? We propose the following literature (unfortunately only available in German language):
- Horst Steinmann, & Albert Löhr: Grundlagen der Unternehmensethik. 2nd edition, Stuttgart: Schäffer-Poeschel, 1994.
- Dominik van Aaken, & Philipp Schreck: Theorien der Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik. Berlin: suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, 2015, pp. 269-309.