Monday, March 12, 2012

Here come the ethical robots

I was particularly listless this morning, buffeted by the inanity of the news and cognizant of the fact that people are so stupid and ignorant these days that we can't expect better . . . when what did I bump into but this story. It's about the need for ethical robots. I find this a startling notion in a world where ethics is a lost topic, a useless relic from a prior age when people cared about such things. Here's an excerpt:
[A]n ethical governor would ensure that robot behavior would stay within predefined ethical bounds. For example, for autonomous military robots, these bounds would include principles derived from the Geneva Conventions and other rules of engagement that humans use.
That's so funny. In a world where Americans have decided that torture is fine and people can be held without formal charges -- indefinitely and in shameful conditions -- the robots will follow "principles derived from the Geneva Conventions". It's a riot; it really is.

The article continues:
The final point that the researchers touch on in their overview is ensuring that robots – especially those that care for children and the elderly – respect human dignity, including human autonomy, privacy, identity, and other basic human rights.
Can't you just see the GOP hopping on board with this? "We must protect basic human rights!" Hahahahahaha.

On the other hand, maybe this is exactly what the human race needs: artificial beings that know the difference between right and wrong. That would be a fresh, new item in the American landscape. So maybe the solution to our current mess is that robots will re-educate us about what it means to be human. That would be great because the current crop of Americans has no clue.