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Our society is characterized by the increasing use of machines and robots that can perform evermore sophisticated functions. Robotics, understood as the field of the design and development of robotic technologies, is in a period marked by great drive and high productivity. There are countless ways in which these machines are used, in the most diverse areas of human life, from surgery to rehabilitation, from home assistance to the operation of transport systems, etc.

In this field, the parallel development of so-called “artificial intelligence” and its convergence towards robotics is particularly interesting, as it gives a glimpse of a “world” developed as a result of the achievements of “humanoid” robots and autonomous agents that mimic human intelligence through algorithms. In this context, the use of robots can be considered as a way to optimize production processes (antagonistic to humans) or as a way to improve life (in a complementary vision). Evidently, the working world and society itself—through intelligent simultaneous presence and interaction of men and machines—will be profoundly changed by robotics and its products.

With the aim of reflecting on the great opportunities and challenges posed by robotics, the Pontifical Academy for Life has launched a path of study and research on issues that are emerging from this rich field, with the objective of offering a key for interpreting the techno-human condition and highlighting the anthropological and ethical aspects (roboethics) linked to “human modification” and the “humanization of robots” (embodiment).