Aimee van Wynsberghe

Assistant Professor of Ethics and Robots
Foundation for Responsible RoboticsTechnical University of Delft

Photo and Bio

Short Bio
Aimee van Wynsberghe has been working in ICT and robotics since 2004. She began her career as part of a research team investigating the network variables related to surgical robots in Canada at the CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advance Robotics) Institute. She is Assistant Professor in Ethics and Technology and the TU Delft. She is co-founder and co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics and on the board of the Institute for Accountability and Internet Democracy. She serves as a member of the Advisory board for the AI & Intelligent Automation Network and is head of the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology robotics task force.  Aimee has been named one of the Netherlands top 400 influential women under 38 by VIVA and was named one of the 25 ‘women in robotics you need to know about’. She is author of the book Healthcare Robots: Ethics, Design, and Implementation and has been awarded an NWO personal research grant to study how we can responsibly design service robots. She has been interviewed by BBC, Quartz, Financial Times, and other International news media on the topic of ethics and robots, and is invited to speak at International conferences and summits.   

Appearances

FT – EIB Global Investment Forum

FT – EIB Global Investment Forum

Inspiring day at the Global Investment Forum run by the Financial Times and the European Investment Bank. I had the pleasure to be on a panel with Jacques Bughin (McKinsey Global Institute), Sharan Burrow (International Trade Union Confederation), Sherif Elsayed-Ali...

Web Summit 2017

Web Summit 2017

I sat down at talked with James Vlahos (contributor to the New York Times, Wired, GQ, and more) on the big stage at Web Summit...

AI & Robotics: The Main Event

Date: 14 September 2017 Place: London, England Video Clip from my Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAPvhlyFcWE  

Media

Featured in an Article on VPro (Dutch)

Featured in an Article on VPro (Dutch)

In June of 2017 I was interviewed for a VPro (Dutch public broadcasting network) documentary on robotics called Robo Sapiens: Work. You can see the interview here (the video won't be available until the evening of Nov...

Live TV Interview with CTV (UPDATED)

Aired today (July 20th) at 13:00 GMT on CTV News Canada. The accompanying article on the CTV News website is here. The video can only be seen in Canada; however, I am trying to get another link. UPDATE: Video now included....

PUBLICATIONS

Notable Selection

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

H-Index: 10

Citations

The Dawning of the Ethics of Environmental Robots (2017)

 

Author(s): Aimee Van Wynsberghe, Justin Donhauser
Link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-017-9990-3

Abstract
Environmental scientists and engineers have been exploring research and monitoring applications of robotics, as well as exploring ways of integrating robotics into ecosystems to aid in responses to accelerating environmental, climatic, and biodiversity changes. These emerging applications of robots and other autonomous technologies present novel ethical and practical challenges. Yet, the critical applications of robots for environmental research, engineering, protection and remediation have received next to no attention in the ethics of robotics literature to date. This paper seeks to fill that void, and promote the study of environmental robotics. It provides key resources for further critical examination of the issues environmental robots present by explaining and differentiating the sorts of environmental robotics that exist to date and identifying unique conceptual, ethical, and practical issues they present.

Citation
Wynsberghe, A. van, & Donhauser, J. (2017). The Dawning of the Ethics of Environmental Robots. Science and Engineering Ethics, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-017-9990-3

 

Service Robots, Ethics, and Design (2016)

 

Author(s): Aimee Van Wynsberghe
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10676-016-9409-x

 

Abstract
It should not be a surprise in the near future to encounter either a personal or a professional service robot in our homes and/or our work places: according to the International Federation for Robots, there will be approx 35 million service robots at work by 2018. Given that individuals will interact and even cooperate with these service robots, their design and development demand ethical attention. With this in mind I suggest the use of an approach for incorporating ethics into the design process of robots known as Care Centered Value Sensitive Design (CCVSD). Although this approach was originally and intentionally designed for the healthcare domain, the aim of this paper is to present a preliminary study of how personal and professional service robots might also be evaluated using the CCVSD approach. The normative foundations for CCVSD come from its reliance on the care ethics tradition and in particular the use of care practices for: (1) structuring the analysis and, (2) determining the values of ethical import. To apply CCVSD outside of healthcare one must show that the robot has been integrated into a care practice. Accordingly, the practice into which the robot is to be used must be assessed and shown to meet the conditions of a care practice. By investigating the foundations of the approach I hope to show why it may be applicable for service robots and further to give examples of current robot prototypes that can and cannot be evaluated using CCVSD.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A. (2016). Service robots, care ethics, and design. Ethics and Information Technology, 1-11.

Designing robots for care: Care centered value-sensitive design (2013)

Authors: Aimee Van Wynsberghe
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-011-9343-6#/page-1

 

 

Abstract
The prospective robots in healthcare intended to be included within the conclave of the nurse-patient relationship—what I refer to as care robots—require rigorous ethical reflection to ensure their design and introduction do not impede the promotion of values and the dignity of patients at such a vulnerable and sensitive time in their lives. The ethical evaluation of care robots requires insight into the values at stake in the healthcare tradition. What’s more, given the stage of their development and lack of standards provided by the International Organization for Standardization to guide their development, ethics ought to be included into the design process of such robots. The manner in which this may be accomplished, as presented here, uses the blueprint of the Value-sensitive design approach as a means for creating a framework tailored to care contexts. Using care values as the foundational values to be integrated into a technology and using the elements in care, from the care ethics perspective, as the normative criteria, the resulting approach may be referred to as care centered value-sensitive design. The framework proposed here allows for the ethical evaluation of care robots both retrospectively and prospectively. By evaluating care robots in this way, we may ultimately ask what kind of care we, as a society, want to provide in the future.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A. (2013). Designing robots for care: Care centered value-sensitive design. Science and engineering ethics, 19(2), 407-433.

Ethicist as Designer: a pragmatic approach to ethics in the lab (2014)
Authors: Aimee Van Wynsberghe, Scott Robbins
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-011-9343-6

 

 

Abstract
The prospective robots in healthcare intended to be included within the conclave of the nurse-patient relationship—what I refer to as care robots—require rigorous ethical reflection to ensure their design and introduction do not impede the promotion of values and the dignity of patients at such a vulnerable and sensitive time in their lives. The ethical evaluation of care robots requires insight into the values at stake in the healthcare tradition. What’s more, given the stage of their development and lack of standards provided by the International Organization for Standardization to guide their development, ethics ought to be included into the design process of such robots. The manner in which this may be accomplished, as presented here, uses the blueprint of the Value-sensitive design approach as a means for creating a framework tailored to care contexts. Using care values as the foundational values to be integrated into a technology and using the elements in care, from the care ethics perspective, as the normative criteria, the resulting approach may be referred to as care centered value-sensitive design. The framework proposed here allows for the ethical evaluation of care robots both retrospectively and prospectively. By evaluating care robots in this way, we may ultimately ask what kind of care we, as a society, want to provide in the future.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A., & Robbins, S. (2014). Ethicist as Designer: a pragmatic approach to ethics in the lab. Science and engineering ethics, 20(4), 947-961.

Book: Healthcare Robots (Ashgate, 2015)
aimeeBookSmallLink: https://www.routledge.com/products/isbn/9781472444332
Citation: van Wynsberghe, A. (2015). Healthcare robots: ethics, design and implementation. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

 

 

’This is a tour de force from one of a new breed of researchers concerned with the societal and ethical issues created by new technologies. Wynsberghe highlights many of the problems with the accelerating use of robotics for elder care and brilliantly points the way forward through value sensitive design. This is a must read, not only for those working in robotics but also for those interested in the future and practice of care.’ Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield, UK

Telesurgery: An Ethical Appraisal (2008)
Authors: Aimee van Wynsberghe and Chris Gastmans
Link: http://jme.bmj.com/content/34/10/e22.short 

 

 

Abstract
The aim of this article is to provide a preliminary ethical evaluation of the effect of telesurgery (long distance, remote surgery) on patient care. In order to accomplish this task we give a broad description of the state of the art in telesurgery and analyse it using Joan Tronto’s articulation of care as a structured process. This structure illuminates the significance of the patient-physician relationship as the buttress for establishing and preserving practices of care in the healthcare context, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding patient dignity. The process of care combined with the moral aim of medicine—to fulfil the good of the patient—provides the ethical foundation for assessing telesurgery. By exploring various telesurgical scenarios we may assess its potential role in augmenting or diminishing patient care within the frame of the patient-physician relationship. The significance of conducting this evaluation lies in the fact that the practice of telesurgery may very shortly become routine and an evaluation has not yet been attempted.

Citation
van Wynsberghe, A., & Gastmans, C. (2008). Telesurgery: an ethical appraisal. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34(10), e22-e22.

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