"The Matrix", "I, Robot" or "The Terminator" - we all know science fiction movies where robots start a rebellion against the human race. It’s an exciting plot, but is it really possible that the machines revolt against us? In fact, robots already are a big part of our everyday life and they will become even more important in the near future. That’s why it is very important to make our cohabitation harmonious. Scientists from around the world are currently working on a code of ethics for robots in order to teach them a good behavior. Unfortunately, the robot experts disagree on how robots or artificial intelligences (AI) should be treated and what they should learn.
Some experts see robots as a possible threat, other see them as the key to a better life. For example, Swedish philosopher and expert on existential risk Nick Bostrom has a very pessimistic view on this topic. In his successful book "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies", he describes how superintelligent robots replace humans as the dominant lifeform on earth. This scenario would definitely call for a new behavior code for robots. The British Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) has a very different opinion. For them, robots are tools which are developed and used by humans. As a result, humans should have the responsibility for the moral behavior of robots and therefore must be addressed with new laws.
It’s impossible to foresee how robots and artificial intelligence will be developing in the next decades. But one thing is for sure: It won’t be easy to create a code of ethics or laws that can guarantee a harmonious cohabitation of humans and robots. One of the biggest problem is the human race. How could we teach a robot a code of ethics if we humanity doesn’t share the same values. Depending on where you live, there are different views and beliefs on what is ethical. Looks like there is much work to do!