Sunday 1 March 2015

Future robots may 'kill us with kindness'

Leading technologist warns value of human life needs to be taught

Published 22/08/2014 | 10:57

Students at the University of Pennsylvania work with one of their RoboCup entries known as Nao in Philadelphia (AP)
Humans may have less control over how robots will then act.

Robots may “kill us with kindness” if they are not taught the value of human life, claims a leading technologist.

Founder and CEO of body-scanning firm Poikos, Eleanor “Nell” Watson made her comments while speaking at ‘The Conference by Media Evolution’ in Sweden.

The inspirational speaker said that microchips are becoming more and more advanced, its intelligence soon becoming comparable with that of a bee.

This development would allow microchips (and thus robots) to navigate social structures and the environment.

“Machines are going to be aware of the environments around them and, to a small extent, they're going to be aware of themselves,” she said.

But this society-changing advancement comes with a caveat – humans will have less control over how robots will then act.

"When we start to see super-intelligent artificial intelligence, are they going to be friendly or unfriendly?" she asked the conference delegates.

"The most important work of our lifetime is to ensure that machines are capable of understanding human value.

"It is those values that will ensure machines don't end up killing us out of kindness."

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