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Archbishop to consider the robots in webinar meditation

On May 12, several well-known figures from the Baltics will answer what it is claimed is a "momentous question – should robots be fought, or are we better off exploiting them for our benefit?"

Titled "Robots are here. Are they friend or foe?" the discussion event is run by Digital Mind, a business technology company, so it seems unlikely the conclusion will be that robots are our implacable enemies and therefore should be destroyed before they have the chance to enslave us.

"This event comes at a decisive time when the technology for RPA (Robotics Process Automation) is there, but it is not yet widespread. A study by Digital Mind found that robotics automation can significantly increase Baltic company output, increasing the small workforces’ capacity, or freeing up employees from monotonous tasks, allowing them to focus on intellectual, value-added work," says publicity material, repeating the classic utopian trope of new technology freeing workers from drudgery and allowing them to spend more time fishing, which somehow never quite seems to arrive.

The event takes place May 12 in online webinar format and features Ieva Ilves, Adviser to the President of Latvia on Information Space and Digital Policy, and Zbigņevs Stankevičs, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, who will discuss robot ethics and, it is to be hoped, whether robot replicants like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner might one day develop souls and stand a chance of adding their voices to the Choir Invisible.

Other participants will include Anna Sauka, a researcher at the University of Latvia, and Jekaterina Stuģe, CEO of Amber Beverage Group, who will discuss whether robots are our friends or enemies, and whether programmers should have their own code of ethics. The discussion will be moderated by Juris Šleiers, co-founder of the Digital Freedom Festival.

The event takes place in both English and Latvian. More details and registration are available at the event website.

 

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