1. From your research, what do you think the most amazing thing robots will be able to do 25 years from now.
2. Will robots ever have human qualities such as free will or will they be like slaves?
3. If robots have feelings, will they be able to control them?
4. How will robots affect employment and traditional workers?
5. How will robots react to humans and things like horseplay? Will they be able to tell the difference between play and an actual attack?
6. What kind of decisions will robots be able to make in the future?
7. Will robots ever be built with weapons like those in Robocop? How will these robot weapons be controlled?
9. Will robots or some of the kinds of robotic technology ever be banned in some countries?
10. Do you think kids will be allowed to use robots such as the Google Car?
12. How trustworthy is robotic technology? What happens if the technology malfunctions? Will robots ever turn on humans?
Dr. Bone attempted to answer them in ways that the students could understand and mentioned more than once that these were good questions to be asking.
Robots should be designed to enhance human life and to do no harm.
Robots will displace jobs, but new jobs will arise.
Robots will be governed by laws.
Robots will, in the future have decision-making capabilities and will have some human-like qualities.
Robots will be controlled by humans, but may have capacity for freewill.
25 years is not a long time when it comes to the evolution of technology. Probably not much will change in 25 years.
Children will most likely not be allowed to have their own robotic cars. Just as there is a driving age today, there will be driving ages even in robotic cars. (This was disappointing).
Developers spend time thinking how to avoid problems and injury.
Robots will have a role as companions in the future.
Robots will be able to do things better than humans - their vision, for example, will be superior.
Dr Bone was of the opinion that robots should not be designed to look like humans. Robots are robots. Humans are humans.
While many of their questions were answered, some of the answers were unsettling and left students with more questions, which is as it should be when engaging in inquiry.
Dr. Bone also emphasized the importance of studying math and science.
Towards the end of the session we had time for questions not on the list. One student asked how Dr. Bone got into the field of robotics. He explained that his interest began as a child. Whenever he got a new toy, he would take it apart to see how it worked.
Noah, asked my favourite question. We had wondered earlier in the week if a visit to the robotics lab was possible and Noah took it upon himself to find out. Dr. Bone didn't say no! He mentioned that there are 1 week sessions for high school students during the summer and that maybe it would be possible to come for a day. He wanted to discuss this with me. Whether we are able to visit or not is not really the point here - having confident students who are willing to take a risk and ask, is!
I realize that we didn't ask the one question we are most curious about. With the Google car example, who would Dr. Bone choose to survive, the passenger or the busload of school children?