Monday, April 17, 2017

Robots Designed to Act Morally?

NAO is the world’s most widely used humanoid robot for education, healthcare, and research. NAO is a fully programmable robot that can walk, talk, listen to you, and even recognise your face. However, robotic science is far from knowing how to instill human-like morality. How to build ethical robots is one of the challenges in artificial intelligence and machine ethics.

Boer Deng

In his 1942 short story 'Runaround', science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov introduced the Three Laws of Robotics — engineering safeguards and built-in ethical principles that he would go on to use in dozens of stories and novels. They were: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Fittingly, 'Runaround' is set in 2015. Real-life roboticists are citing Asimov's laws a lot these days: their creations are becoming autonomous enough to need that kind of guidance. In May, a panel talk on driverless cars at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington DC, turned into a discussion about how autonomous vehicles would behave in a crisis. What if a vehicle's efforts to save its own passengers by, say, slamming on the brakes risked a pile-up with the vehicles behind it? Or what if an autonomous car swerved to avoid a child, but risked hitting someone else nearby?

Read more here.

Related reading: The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence by Nick Bostrom

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Truth Defends Itself

Modernization often comes from people who are bored with Truth because it does not tickle their egos. The ego that demands to be the center of attention is not interesting. Truth is interesting. It entices us to come closer, to investigate some mystery. There is always an element of mystery where there is Truth.

Alice C. Linsley