One of the main obstacles to digital transformation is fear: the development of knowledge and awareness on robots allows us to define appropriate regulations and make innovation efficient and safe.
Probably, part of the suspicion surrounding the issue has to do with the term intelligence. However human intelligence is biochemical and, as such, not reproducible. That of machines does not work on the basis of complex chemical reactions, but is algorithmic and reproducible. Moreover the robot does not have its own ethics: it is the programmer (a human being) who attributes it to him. As Cingolani points out, it has a passive ethic.
Those who fear robots have never seen the tender iCub, the spearhead of IIT. It has the size, shape and even the name of a child. iCub is a robot powered by as many as 53 engines and equipped with balance sensors so sophisticated that it guarantees an extraordinary balance. His hands have been designed to perform complex and precise handling tasks, such as those required in industrial production.
R1 and its medical application
R1 is less complex and higher (less child and therefore perhaps a little less likeable). The creature of Giorgio Metta, IIT’s deputy scientific director, is already working in the clinics. Thanks to his surprising ability to interact with human beings (he was presented as your personal humanoid) he is an assistive-rehabilitative robot. R1 is the result of the collaboration between the Genoa Italian Institute of Technology and IBM, which dealt with the implementation of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. It draws on the cloud, where it can fish in a vast amount of useful data to perform the operations for which it is programmed. In the clinical reality of the Don Gnocchi Foundation it is used for robotic rehabilitation. But it can also be used for the rehabilitation of children with autism.
The insertion of humanoids in rehabilitation departments, in the industry and in our homes is already in place and destined to become increasingly widespread. Robots are destined for a rapid technology transfer, because there is a powerful driving force able to drag them towards the market: the need.