Robot rights update

The Government of South Korea, reports the BBC, has launched a project to develop a Robot Ethics Charter “to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa.” The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy declared: “The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future.” A member of the ministry’s “robot team” gave a sense of the dilemmas that lie in store as robotic beings get smarter and more flexible: “Imagine if some people treat androids as if the machines were their wives.” (Do I have to?) “Others may get addicted to interacting with them just as many internet users get hooked to the cyberworld.”

The European Robotics Research Network is also in the process of developing ethical guidelines for robot use. A draft of the guidelines states, “In the 21st Century humanity will coexist with the first alien intelligence we have ever come into contact with – robots. It will be an event rich in ethical, social and economic problems.” That strikes me as an awfully human-centric view. What we see as problems our robot friends will recognize as opportunities.

4 thoughts on “Robot rights update

  1. Ethan

    “What we see as problems our robot friends will recognize as opportunities.”

    Offhand, I can foresee the inevitable cantina segregation issues, not to mention rampant kleptomania. Plus there’s the constant drone of “warning! warning!” – which means we’ll need tougher noise pollution restrictions.

  2. Mark Ontkush

    A follow up on the economics of robot rights and the breakeven between getting a human to do the same job e.g. why aren’t robots ragpicking out of landfills? Answer – humans are cheaper and can’t pay for ‘rights’. At some level, machines are already the ‘unmarked class’ where they start with a big bundle. After all, they were bought, built, and conceived knowingly, protected under copyright…

    I can only think of C. Heston – “Get your Hands off me, you dirty robot!”

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