Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Robots - Ethics and Realities

Robotics is the art and commerce of robots, their design, manufacture, application, and practical use. Robots will soon be everywhere, in our home and at work. They will change the way we live. This will raise many philosophical, social, and political questions that will have to be answered. In science fiction, robots become so intelligent that they decide to take over the world because humans are deemed inferior. In real life, however, they might not choose to do that. Robots might follow rules such as Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, that will prevent them from doing so. When the Singularity happens, robots will be indistinguishable from human beings and some people may become Cyborgs: half man and half machine.

Prominent robot ethics questions focus on liability and privacy concerns in the face of increasingly autonomous technology. A lesser-discussed issue is the emergence and effect of robots that are designed to interact with humans on a social level. Studies have begun to establish a tendency to perceive social robots differently than we do other objects. As more and more robotic companions enter into our lives and homes, our inclination to project life-like qualities onto robots could have some societal implications.

Kate Darling -- IP Research Specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and a Ph.D. candidate in Intellectual Property and Law & Economics at the ETH Zurich -- discusses some of the more interesting developments in the world of robot/human interaction, and where we might find ourselves in the coming decades.

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