ITGS Syllabus

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Topic 168

reliability of robotic devices, particularly in life-threatening situations. by Akira

These days robotics devices are used very often and mostly for everything. But how reliable is it under extreme conditions? You can’t say that the device would always work in your favor, and under a life-threatening situation this would be critical.

The most important issue concerning this topic is security. This is because human life is the most important matter concerning this topic. For example if you are in a aircraft that is about to crash and if your auto-eject system doesn’t work your fate is death, and this is because the robotic device in the aircraft failed to respond under life-threatening situation.

Another example is when there is a fire in a building the automatic fire extinguisher doesn’t work because it malfunctioned. In this case it is likely that you would die because of the fire or the smoke because the fire extinguisher didn’t work when it should have. The second issue concerned with this topic is trust. This is because if a certain company’s product became the cause of someone’s death most people would not trust that the product works, or would at least doubt the effectiveness of the product. Also if your relative or family member dies from the product you might even stop using all mechanical devices. This is an extreme case but it might still happen.

One solution that would solve these problems is to always put a manual way along with the mechanical way. This is actually used as a fail-safe system in case the devise doesn’t work in real life. So even if the automatic fire extinguisher doesn’t start spraying you can use the fire extinguisher manually to put the fire out to save your life.

If the device doesn’t work in a life-threatening situation the maker of the product should be held responsible. This is mainly because the most likely reason of the product not working is because the maker didn’t check the product before shipment. So all the blame should go to the maker. Although in most situations the maker is held responsible there can be exceptions. For example the product could have broken during the life-threatening event, such as an earthquake, storm, flood and so on. In these situations no one can be held responsible because it is a natural disaster.

     One alternate decision is to not use any robotic devices but this would probably be inconvenient. So the best decision is to install manual process with the robotic device for insurance.


reliability of robotic devices, particularly in life-threatening situations. by Sung-Hwan

The main purposes of robots are to make them do jobs for humans who will make factories to produce products faster and efficient. It is also used in dangerous situations, such as surgery and fire emergency. Therefore, robots are used in a lot of areas, and are going to be further more used in other areas as well.

The reliability of robot varies on whether the robot is used in dangerous situations, or in normal situations. If the robot was used in normal situations, then the amount people depend on robots are lesser than in the dangerous situations. This is because if a robot failed to do their jobs, the cost for that is lesser for the normal situations, where else in dangerous situations, it might bring deaths. Therefore, we should be careful when we rely on robots in dangerous situations.

In the normal situations, robots are usually used to do a small part of the work over and over again. This is called a specialization. Even though a robot makes a mistake, it doesn’t cause great casualties, since it takes only a small part in the production. I think the robotic devices are more reliable in this field of work than humans, because computers and robots are very good at doing things repeatedly. Also, robots and computers do not feel tired or other kinds of physical limitations, therefore, they would be able to work as much as the factory wants with sufficient electricity.

However, in the dangerous situations, I think robots are less reliable than the humans. The reason being, humans have the consciousness and they are able to think unlike the computers, which just follows the instruction and memory implanted by humans. I think dangerous situations often require a consciousness, since unlike the factory work, the work required here is dynamic; it can’t be predicted.

Therefore to solve dangerous situation, one must have flexibility, so that they can adapt easily to the change in situation and create a new solution for it. Since robots do not have this ability, I think they are not really reliable for dangerous works. For example, when a robot is made to rescue the people trapped inside the building that is on fire, it might be implanted in its memory to rescue those who are likely to survive first. Let’s say that a mother and a child are trapped in the building.

The mother would beg for the child to be rescued first, but a robot would rescue the mother first since she has better physical health than the child. It is difficult to decide whether this is a right decision or not, but there are a lot of times when we have to twist the rules to achieve the goals.

Consequently, I think humans are more reliable in dangerous situations than the robots, though using the robots would decrease the risk of losing the savor also. Deciding whether human or robots are more reliable than the other is very difficult. There are lots of different situations, so the reliability defers on each situations. Therefore we should carefully decide whom to assign the job to, since it could be a matter of living and dying.


Blogger Dwarkesh said...

im doing this

January 30, 2007 12:25 PM  

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