In it's latest episode Talking Robots interviews the organizer of the First International
Symposium on Roboethics and founder of an association
to study the relationship between Robotics and Society, Gianmarco Veruggio. Since he first
coined the term "Roboethics" to
describe guidelines to the design, construction and use of the robots,
Veruggio has been advocating an open and democratic discussion of the
ethical questions surrounding the inevitable "robot invasion". His focus
is on chairing international conferences and workshops as well as on
raising awareness of policy makers and scientists around the world. For
more information check out the Talking Robots website and listen
to the podcast!
Each time I hear about people trying to give their screwdrivers "rights" I wonder where exactly intelligent people completely lost their marbles.
Fortunately, there are some stable comments from people who have actually engaged brain, THEN mouth in the podcast. Whew!
"Robot is a machine that assist the human beings and doesn't control those humans." --Hirochika Inoue
"I don't think we need to make our robots ethical. What we need to do is make the people who make the robots ethical." --Bruce Sterling
And, for some reason these days, that second one is the most challenging...
You really can't enforce ethics in robots or people. You can rant and rave about it, but where will it get you? You can tell every robot builder in the world to follow asimov's laws, and lo and behold, someone just ain't going to follow them. So for example, you buy a ticket on an airplane. Do you know who sits beside you? They could be a mass murderer, a pedophile or worse a lawyer. Now, in a different situation sometime off in the future, you buy a plane ticket, and a robot sits beside you, how do you know whether that robot is a mass murderer, a pedophile or worse a lawyer robot? I really don't expect that robots will be given that level of autonomy, anyway, but if they were, how could you detect their instilled level of ethics? Since I gave up hope I feel a lot better! Maybe each robot will be required to display a boiler plate of their installed ethics chip and pass rigorous DOT scrutiny before being allowed on an airplane to prevent lawyer robots from sitting beside us. Even then, you can't see electronic bits or brain function so you just have to have trust people and at some point robots! Scary, ain't it! This will be a problem topic that probably will never have a good solution. It's scary to think that even a robot that starts out good could be hacked/cracked to be a weapon. It's going to be hard to allow robots free autonomy in our community with that sort of threat being a real possibility. Therefore the robots will probably be limited to the rich and powerful only who can get away with anything ethically anyway.