Friday, January 13, 2017

Europeans want Asimov's laws of robots

Some Europeans are panicking about robots:
To combat the robot revolution, the European Parliament's legal affairs committee has proposed that robots be equipped with emergency "kill switches" to prevent them from causing excessive damage. Legislators have also suggested that robots be insured and even be made to pay taxes. "A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics," said Mady Delvaux, the parliamentarian who authored the proposal. "To ensure that robots are and will remain in the service of humans, we urgently need to create a robust European legal framework." CNNMoney reports:

The proposal calls for a new charter on robotics that would give engineers guidance on how to design ethical and safe machines. For example, designers should include "kill switches" so that robots can be turned off in emergencies. They must also make sure that robots can be reprogrammed if their software doesn't work as designed. The proposal states that designers, producers and operators of robots should generally be governed by the "laws of robotics" described by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. The proposal also says that robots should always be identifiable as mechanical creations. That will help prevent humans from developing emotional attachments. "You always have to tell people that robot is not a human and a robot will never be a human," said Delvaux. "You must never think that a robot is a human and that he loves you."
I used to agree with some of this, but now I think that it is naive.

We will have robots doing functions so critical that no one will dare turn them off. We will also have robots with software derived from AI learning, and no one understand how it works or how to fix it to correct the behavior.

There will also be human-like robots, and ppl will want robots to love them.

Google and Microsoft now have natural language translation systems that are derived from so much data that no one really understands them. Microsoft even has real-time Skype translation. It is possible that these could become essential parts of the infrastructure of our civilization. It is also possible that translation quirks result in some ppl getting killed. Asking Google or Microsoft to fix those quirks might be hopeless.

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