What can Robotics and AI teach us about Trust?
As a researcher in AI and robotics, Professor Benjamin Kuipers, in this interview, sees increasing applications of AI in our society. It is natural to wonder whether the behavior of these artificially intelligent systems should somehow be governed by ethics. There is general agreement that ethics imposes constraints on individual behavior for the benefit of society as a whole. There is also a general recognition that trust is important, for individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. But aside from recognizing that trust is in general a good thing, few people have looked carefully at the specifics of how trust serves the thriving, and perhaps even the survival, of our society. In this interview, Benjamin Kuipers, based on ideas from many insightful thinkers, suggests a framework for how these elements work together: a society thrives when it has the resources to respond to threats and opportunities when it gains resources through positive-sum interactions where many positive-sum interactions are forms of cooperation, which in turn involves vulnerability to exploitation by partners. Trust is a willingness to accept vulnerability, confident that it won’t be exploited, and for trust to be effective, one’s self and others must be trustworthy. Through ethics, a society teaches its members how to be trustworthy and how to recognize trustworthiness in others.