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Journal article

Rapid advances in digital technologies have allowed robots to become more autonomous and efficacious than ever before. Future developments in robotics hold the potential to transform human robot interactions. We can expect to see robots performing a variety of functions in public spaces. Possibilities exist for robots to greatly improve the quality of our lives and to contribute positively to the safety, creative potential, and atmosphere of public spaces. But as this trend develops, the risk emerges of robots transforming public spaces and social interactions in undesirable ways. By reviewing previous public policy approaches to harnessing and regulating disruptive technology, we consider how public policy could simultaneously enhance opportunities created by the presence of robots in public spaces and reduce the risks of undesirable outcomes. We summarise key insights into a policy design checklist to guide policies on robots in public spaces. These insights cover (1) safety, (2) privacy and ethics, (3) productivity, (4) aesthetics, (5) co-creation, (6) equitable access, and (7) systemic innovation.

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