Commercial Robotics

Japanese Robots and Asimov's 1st Law

Posted 28 May 2006 at 15:46 UTC by steve Share This

Yahoo! News posted a couple of stories suggesting that the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was atempting the first formal implementation of one of Asimov's laws of robotics, the law that states a robot may not injure a human or through inaction allow a human to come to harm. Of course, the reality is not quite up to the hype. It turns out what's really happening is that some new, run of the mill, industrial robotics safety requirements are being drafted. The new rules include such futuristic Asimovian ideas as "emergency shut off switches" and proximity sensors to prevent collisions with humans or other objects. The source for this story seems to be a recent article in The Japan Times (Google cache, original no longer available). See also our 2003 story on the patent granted for a formal system of "ethical robot laws".

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