The First International Symposium on Roboethics took place this weekend in Villa Nobel, Sanremo, Italy. Its goal is to "open" a debate about the ethical basis which should inspire the design and development of robots. This debate has been going on for close to a hundred years among builders of actual robots and in science fiction but it's apparently time for mundanes to get involved. Among the questions to be addressed: will smart machines rise up and demand equal rights?, "the definition of the problem of whether a robot can or cannot do harm to a human being", and "Could a robot do 'good' and 'evil'?". Bruce Sterling was there and reports in his weblog that Vatican theologians are suprisingly on top of roboethics issues.