Here are many ways we stay 100% committed to our “robots for good” policy and taking a clear ethical stance in what we do:
- We screen each sale to ensure our tech is used responsibly. Each proposal has the eyes of our Directors, and if we don’t like the idea, we won’t do it.
- We listen to the opinions of our employees, for example, eight years ago we participated in a meat deboning project. After a staff review, we realised it didn’t sit well with our animal-loving, vegan and vegetarian employees. The next time such an offer came (robots in pig farming), we turned it down.
- We would never sell our robots for military use. We are active campaigners against killer robots and have supported UNA-UK on their “stop killer robots” campaign. Our robots have been considered for bomb disposal tasks so that we can help prevent disasters from happening.
- Every three months we have an internal review of what we are doing, where we are going and how we are making a difference with a representative number of people from the company to help keep us in check.
- We submit a lot of proposals and get involved in many funded collaborations through Horizon2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. At the end of each proposal, the European Commission has a checklist, including an element on ethical management. Everything else in the proposal is scored, but the ethical questions are a pass or fail, which makes for a solid framework.
- Our Managing Director, Rich Walker, sits on the Innovate UK “Robotics and Autonomous Systems” SIG Advisory Board, which lets him influence the direction the UK takes in robotics in a way that is ethical and makes sense to SMEs and innovators.
- Rich is also a Director of euRobotics, and various EPSRC and University networks and committees around robotics, promoting the ethical use of robots within the industry.
“The point of having a framework should be to prove that you are not building organisations that are detrimental to society by ignoring the effects of your actions on social commonwealth.”