[Paleopsych] Wired: Robots of science fiction have not arrived yet, but ethicists are gearing up
checker at panix.com
Tue Jan 25 15:01:25 UTC 2005
Robots of science fiction have not arrived yet, but ethicists are gearing up
Monday, January 24, 2005
Humanity is still far away from creating a world that is overrun -- or
served well -- by robots like those portrayed in science fiction. But
some people are already busy considering the ethical questions that
robot fantasies demand. Should robots eat? Should robot labor be
regulated? Are robots entitled to intellectual property rights? Those
are just some of the interesting, if not strange, issues that
scientists and scholars are seriously discussing these days. To learn
more on this topic, be sure to also read the related article, U.S.
Army tests battlefield robot armed with pump action shotgun; bring on
* Should we treat bots like the rest of us?
* These marvelous machines, optimists hope, will follow Moore's law,
doubling in quality every 18 months, and lead to a Jetsonian
* Or, as pessimists fear, humanoid bots will reproduce, increase
their intelligence, and wipe out humanity.
* The artificial intelligence to animate robots remains several
orders of magnitude less than what's needed.
* We have to master either software engineering or self-organization
before our most intelligent designers can dare play in the same
league as Mother Nature.
* They cannot comprehend Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics to
protect and obey humans before preserving themselves.
* In case you missed them, today's most popular robots are ATMs and
* While our hopes for and fears of robots may be overblown, there is
plenty to worry about as automation progresses.
* The risk is not humanoids running amok, but that as these
electronic puppets become more lifelike, they become door-to-door
spambots who trick people into buying snake oil and junk bonds.
* We are nearing an age in which humans and computers may be
connected via direct neural interfaces, technology
indistinguishable from telepathy and telekinesis.
* In the output direction, humans might be trained to think in
distinct ways so that sensors and software could classify thoughts
into signals to control equipment.
* When cars were invented, no one imagined that hundreds of millions
of them would spew carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
* A telerobot is an electronic puppet controlled across a wire by a
human using a PC and devices like joysticks and gloves.
More information about the paleopsych