Friday, January 6, 2012

Allenby reviews Robot Ethics in Nature

Braden Allenby gave the new anthology on Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics (MIT 2011), edited by Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and George Bekey, a very good review in the January 5th issue of Nature.
Robot Ethics succeeds as a stand- alone text, with its varied contributors striving for objectivity and avoiding hyperbole. The broad spread of applications discussed is key because the ethics differ depending on the use. Military robots, for instance, must be designed to obey the laws that gov- ern warfare. Carer robots must be capable of interacting with patients, who may give them trust and even affection.

Allenby, a professor of engineering and law at Arizona State University, has been active in underscoring the challenges posed by emerging technologies such as Geothermal Engineering and Military Robots. He stresses the need for emerging technologies to be given more attention.
By portraying robots as real-world experiments in ethics, Robot Ethics conveys an important lesson for our technological era: we must develop responses to emerging technologies in real time, rather than simply reacting to them using existing ethical frameworks.

The full review titled, Robotics: Morals and machines, can be accessed here.

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