Robot Ethics

Robots exist in an open world where you can’t predict everything that’s going to happen. The robot has to have some autonomy in order to act and react in a real situation. It needs to make decisions to protect itself, but it also needs to transfer control to humans when appropriate. You don’t want a robot to drive off a ledge, for instance — unless a human needs the robot to drive off the ledge. When those situations happen, you need to have smooth transfer of control from the robot to the appropriate human. [...]

The bottom line is, robots need to be responsive and resilient. They have to be able to protect themselves and also smoothly transfer control to humans when necessary.

- David Woods, "Want responsible robotics? Start with responsible humans"

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