Monday, December 04, 2023

Just what is autonomy (in an automated system like an embodied AI, Robot or even Human Proxy)?

 Something or someone (a proxybot) carries out an action "on behalf of someone" at some distance in space and time from the person issuing the instructions. They were given instructions on what to do, including contingencies for varying circumstances. What level of autonomy does this represent, if the proxybot can vary what they do if the circumstances are not precisely any of those foreseen? 

(If this, then that, otherwise...)

Of course, the proxybot programmer could try to foresee the universe of possibilities, or could include "failsafe" alternates, or describe overall / overarching principles for decision making in the presence of novel situations (ethical envelopes, so to speak).

But the instrument is still an instrument, and not really autonomous. It is an agent of the orginator. Just because it is removed in space and/or time does not reeuce the agency of the programmer, surely? Unless the programmer and proxybut "agree" to handover agency: but what would such a handover look like? how would you know?

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