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Cal Poly gets funds to study ethics of robotic cooking

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Posted at 1:45 PM, Oct 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-03 16:45:04-04

Cal Poly is being given more than $700,000 in federal grants to study the impacts of artificial intelligence in the kitchen, the school announced Monday.

The funding will support a four-year project with the Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly, where researchers will dig deeper into the social and ethical implications of robotic kitchens.

The money was awarded to the group by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Some questions the project will examine include:

  • Will robot cooking homogenize food or diversify cooking techniques?
  • How will it affect communities?
  • Will it change parent/child education and bonding in the kitchen?
  • What will it mean for restaurant kitchen employees?

Cal Poly philosophy professor Patrick Lin has been named the principal investigator for the project.

"This project will help to draw out the hidden and very broad impacts of technology," Lin said in a release. "By focusing on the trend of robot kitchens that's just emerging from under the radar, there is still time for technical and policy interventions in order to maximize benefits and minimize harms and disputes."

The project will be the first extensive conversation around robotic kitchens, the university says.