本文摘要:The killing of a technician by an industrial robot at a Volkswagen plant in Germany sparked a social media storm this week and raised fears about human safety in the coming era of robotics.本周,大众汽车(Volkswagen)德国工厂一台工业机器人造成一名技师遇难的事件,在社交媒体上引发了一场风暴。


The killing of a technician by an industrial robot at a Volkswagen plant in Germany sparked a social media storm this week and raised fears about human safety in the coming era of robotics.本周,大众汽车(Volkswagen)德国工厂一台工业机器人造成一名技师遇难的事件,在社交媒体上引发了一场风暴。这件事还让不少人担忧,在将要来临的机器人时代中,人类自身的安全性不会受到威胁。

But experts on artificial intelligence and automation said the incident near Kassel should be understood as an extremely rare industrial accident, rather than a warning about future threats. The accident, in which the robot crushed the man against a metal plate, occurred during installation and involved a fast-moving first-generation robot designed to operate inside a cage, well away from human workers.但人工智能和自动化专家回应,卡塞尔市(Kassel)附近再次发生的这起事件,不应被解读为一起十分少见的工业事故,而不是关于人类未来不会面对哪些威胁的一次警告。这起事故是在技师组装机器人的过程中再次发生的,机器人把技师塞满了一块金属板上。涉案的是一台较慢移动的第一代机器人,从设计上说道,这种机器人是在笼子里工作的,靠近人类员工。“With present technology we cannot ‘blame’ the robot,” said Blay Whitby, artificial intelligence expert at the University of Sussex. “Robots are not yet at a level where their decision-making allows us to treat them as blameworthy.萨塞克斯大学(University of Sussex)人工智能专家布莱惠特比(Blay Whitby)回应:“就现有的技术而言,我们无法‘将责任录在’机器人头上。

机器人还到时发展到那种程度,我们不不应指出它们能为其所做到的决策承担责任。”“This unfortunate accident is technically and morally comparable to a machine operator being crushed because he didn’t use the safety guard,” he added. “In this case it’s more complex and therefore more forgivable because ‘the safety guard’ [at Volkswagen] was provided by computer software and he was in the process of setting it up.”他补足说道:“从技术和道德角度说道,这起意外的事故相等于一名机械操作员因未采行安全性防水而被挤死了。明确到这个例子,情况要更加简单一些,因此也更加有一点原谅,因为(大众的)‘安全性防水’是由电脑软件获取的,而他当时正在配备这一软件。”The next robotic generation — known variously as “workplace assistant robots”, “collaborative robots” or just “cobots” — are designed to operate uncaged alongside people. They incorporate sensors and other safety features to limit the force they can exert and prevent them running amok.下一代机器人被称作“工作场所助理机器人”、“协作机器人”或全称“Cobot”(collaborative robot的简写——译者录)。




“Unfortunately people have exaggerated expectations and exaggerated fears about robots,” said Professor Alan Winfield of the Bristol Robotic Laboratory in southwest England. “They have been oversensitised by sci-fi movies and stories in the media.”英格兰西南部布里斯托机器人实验室(Bristol Robotic Laboratory)的艾伦温菲尔德(Alan Winfield)教授回应:“很失望,人们对机器人的希望和不安都过了头。他们被科幻电影和媒体报道弄得过分脆弱。”Professor Sandor Veres, head of Sheffield University’s Autonomous Systems and Robotics Research Group, pointed out that there have been very few fatal accidents with caged industrial robots since the manufacturers began installing them in the 1970s.谢菲尔德大学(Sheffield University)自律系统和机器人研究小组(Autonomous Systems and Robotics Research Group)主管尚能多尔韦赖什(Sandor Veres)教授认为,自上世纪70年代制造商开始组装在笼中工作的机器人以来,这种致人丧生的事故极为少见。

Since the first recorded robot killing, in a US Ford factory in 1979, such incidents have occurred at a rate of less than one a year — making up a minuscule fraction of all deaths in industrial accidents.第一起记录在案的机器人致人丧生事件,再次发生在1979年的福特(Ford)美国工厂。自那以来,这类事件每年再次发生将近一起,在所有致人丧生的工业事故中只占到大于的比例。

Indeed robotic automation has probably cut the overall death rate in factories, because more people would have been killed through a range of other industrial accidents doing the work replaced by robots.事实上,机器人自动化很有可能减少了工厂中的整体死亡率,原因是假如由人力来做到机器人所做到的工作,本不会有更加多的人在一系列工业事故中遇难。