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nanoTalks: Autonomous Robots

The development of autonomous robots has greatly changed our lives - and will even more so in the future. Come and join us for the next round of nanoTalks dedicated to the many impacts and consequences of modern robotics!


University of Zurich, Main Building, K02-F-175


Nanotalks 1080p 5


The development of robotics has greatly changed our lives - and will even more so in the future. Come and join us for the next round of nanoTalks, where two short speeches will be dedicated to some of the many impacts and tricky consequences of modern robotics!

1. Talk: Criteria for the Ethical Use of (Semi-) Autonomous Systems in Security and Defense

PD Dr. Markus Christen: Research Network Manager of the University of Zurich’s Research Priority Program Ethics, Managing Director of the Digital Society Initiative, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics of the University of Zurich.

Information technology has become a decisive element in modern warfare. Armed forces, but also police, border control and civil protection organizations increasingly rely on robotic systems with growing autonomous capacities. This poses tactical and strategic, but also ethical and legal issues. In the talk, I will present an scheme for evaluating autonomous robotic systems in security and defense applications. The focus is on two types of applications: First, systems whose purpose is not to destroy objects or to harm people (e.g. rescue robots, surveillance systems); although dual-use cannot be excluded. Second, systems that deliberately possess the capacity to harm people or destroy objects – both defensive and offensive, lethal and non-lethal systems.

2. Talk: Deploying Legged Robots to Solve Dangerous, Dirty, and Dull Tasks

Péter Fankhauser: Co-Founder and Robotics Software Engineer at ANYbotics

Modern robotics technology is on the rise to get machines operate alongside human workers to provide support and relief. To achieve ultimate mobility, our group develops autonomous robots for payload transportation to difficult-to-reach places. Inspired by nature, our robots locomote with legs which allow them to run and climb over rough terrain. In this talk, I will give an insight into our technology and exemplify its application to industrial and humanitarian work.