The human should not be ‘designed out’ of technology, instead the human should be put at the centre. A human-centred design approach that does not narrowly focus on the individual but takes into account the wider socioeconomic context, can bring to light a broader, and different, range of social and ethical issues. It is paramount that strategic choices and decisions driving research and innovation for future computing and robotics rely on such an approach.
No technology that uses the brain as its inspiration should neglect the capacity of the brain, in constant interaction with its interpersonal and physical environment, to develop and sustain a social and emotional mind. This is especially the case for applications in the domain of care (for older people, those with disabilities, children), which is a human interaction involving genuine reciprocation of feelings and obligations, and these entail the kinds of high level affective and interpersonal skills that are currently challenging for machine intelligence. Affective neuroscience and affective computing are areas of research of high relevance to machine intelligence. They are at present minimally represented in the HBP, and could valuably complement the project.