While experts from several fieldsaround the world attempt to work through the ever-growing list of problems to createmore obedient robots, others caution that it could be a double-edged sword.While it may lead to machines that are safer and ultimately better it may alsointroduce an avalanche of problems regarding the rights of the intelligencesthat we have created.The notion that human/robotrelations might prove tricky far from a new one.
In 1947, legendary sciencefiction writer Isaac Asimov introduced his Three Laws of Robotics in the shortstory collection I, Robot, which were designed to be a basic set oflaws that all robots must follow to ensure the safety of humans. 1) A robotcannot harm human beings, 2) A robot must obey orders given to it unless itconflicts with the first law, and 3) A robot must protect its own existenceunless in conflicts with either of the first two laws. Asimov’s robots adherestrictly to the laws and yet, limited by their rigid robot brains, become trappedin unresolvable moral dilemmas. In one story, a robot lies to a woman and falselytells her that a certain man loves her who doesn’t, because the truth might hurther feelings, which the robot interprets as a violation of the first law.
To notbreak her heart, the robot breaks her trust, traumatizing her and ultimatelyviolating the first law anyway. The conundrum ultimately drives therobot insane. Although fictional literature, Asimov’s Laws have remained acentral and basic point entry point for serious discussions about the nature ofmorality in robots and acting as a reminder that even clear, well defined rulesmay fail when interpreted by individual robots on a case to case basis. Accelerating advances in new AI technologyhave recently spurred an increased interest to the question of how newly intelligentrobots might navigate our world. With a future of highly intelligent AIseemingly close at hand, robot morality has emerged as a growing field of discussion,attracting scholars from ethics, philosophy, human rights, law, psychology, andtheology.
There have also been several public concerns as many noteworthy mindsin the scientific and robotics communities have cautioned that the uprise of machinescould well mean the end of the world.