The Seeing Eye Robot: Developing a Human-Aware Artificial Collaborator
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Automated care systems are becoming more tangible than ever: recent breakthroughs in robotics and machine learning can be used to address the need for automated care created by the increasing aging population. However, such systems require overcoming several technological, ethical, and social challenges. One inspirational manifestation of these challenges can be observed in the training of seeing-eye dogs for visually impaired people. A seeing-eye dog is not just trained to obey its owner, but also to “intelligently disobey”: if it is given an unsafe command from its handler, it is taught to disobey it or even insist on a different course of action. This paper proposes the challenge of building a seeing-eye robot, as a thought-provoking use-case that helps identify the challenges to be faced when creating behaviors for robot assistants in general. Through this challenge, this paper delineates the prerequisites that an automated care system will need to have in order to perform intelligent disobedience and to serve as a true agent for its handler.