Can a robot be an expert? The social meaning of skill and its expression through the prospect of autonomous AgTech

Agriculture and Human Values 40 (2):501-517 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Artificial intelligence and robotics have increasingly been adopted in agri-food systems—from milking robots to self-driving tractors. New projects extend these technologies in an effort to automate skilled work that has previously been considered dependent on human expertise due to its complexity. In this paper, we draw on qualitative research carried out with farm managers on apple orchards and winegrape vineyards in Aotearoa New Zealand. We investigate how agricultural managers’ perceptions of future agricultural automation relates to their approach to expertise, or the degree to which they think specialised skills and knowledge are required to perform agricultural work on their orchards and vineyards. Our research generates two insights: the perceived potential for work to be automated is related to the degree to which it is seen to require technical or embodied expertise, with technical expertise being more automatable; and, while embodied expertise is perceived to be more difficult to automate, it is sometimes attributed more exclusively to those in positions of power, such that embodied expertise can be highly valued while the majority of embodied work is viewed as non-expert and thus automatable. Our analysis illustrates that a robot can be an expert when expertise is technical. It also shows variability in the conceptualization of skilled or unskilled work, and that those conceptualizations can set the stage for the future effects of new technologies. This generates new insights into the conditions under which automation might reproduce existing inequalities in agriculture, and also raises new questions about responsibility in the context of automation.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,164

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

You and I, robot.Shaun Gallagher - 2013 - AI and Society 28 (4):455-460.
What is the teacher’s role in robot programming by demonstration?Sylvain Calinon & Aude G. Billard - 2007 - Interaction Studies. Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies / Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies 8 (3):441-464.
Cultivating Practical Wisdom.Jason Swartwood - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
Robot Lies in Health Care: When Is Deception Morally Permissible?Andreas Matthias - 2015 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 25 (2):169-162.
Framing robot arms control.Wendell Wallach & Colin Allen - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):125-135.
When is a robot a moral agent.John P. Sullins - 2006 - International Review of Information Ethics 6 (12):23-30.
Wisdom as an Expert Skill.Jason D. Swartwood - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):511-528.
Companion robots: the hallucinatory danger of human-robot interactions.Piercosma Bisconti & Daniele Nardi - 2018 - In AIES '18: Proceedings of the 2018 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society. pp. 17-22.
The morality of autonomous robots.Aaron M. Johnson & Sidney Axinn - 2013 - Journal of Military Ethics 12 (2):129 - 141.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-11-06

Downloads
17 (#811,313)

6 months
16 (#134,238)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?