MATE robots simplifying my work: benefits and socio-ethical implications


With the increasing complexity of modern industrial automatic and robotic systems, an increasing burden is put on the operators, who are requested to supervise and interact
with very complex systems, typically under challenging andstressful conditions. 

To overcome this issue, it is necessary to adopt a responsible approach based on the anthropocentric design methodology, such that machines adapt to the humanscapabilities, and not vice versa.

Moving along these lines, in this paper we consider an integrated methodological design approach, which we call MATE, consisting in devising complex
automatic or robotic solutions that measure current operator’s status, adapting the interaction accordingly, and providing her/him with proper training to improve the interaction and
learn lacking skills and expertise. 

Accordingly, a MATE system is intended to be easily usable for all users, thus meeting theprinciples of inclusive design.
Using such a MATE system gives rise to several ethical and social implications, which are discussed in this paper. Additionally,a discussion about which factors in the organization
of companies are critical with respect to the introduction of a MATE system is presented.