Designing Robots That Can Keep Secrets
University of Oxford (03/05/14)
University of Oxford researchers are investigating the privacy concerns associated with surrogate robots and are studying ways to prevent them from unnecessarily revealing the identities of the people with whom they interact. “It is important that we design robots that have privacy embedded into their design, so their information gathering is restricted to what is needed to interact and carry out their tasks, and information about the identity of their human users is kept to a minimum,” says Ian Brown, associate director of Oxford’s Cyber Security Center and a senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. Brown and Oxford colleague Joss Wright are part of a team of researchers working on a three-year project examining the implications of robots in public spaces. As part of the project, the researchers plan to introduce an advanced-programmed humanoid robot, called Nao, to the public and then measure how people respond to it. “At Oxford we have been exploring how individuals can maintain control over information about themselves, while still enjoying the potential benefits of robotic technology,” Brown says. The researchers have developed techniques for providing information without compromising users’ privacy, including matching people into groups with similar interests without needing each person to share their interests.