In the future, robots will be accomplishing most of our tasks, if not everything. But what happens, when these robots, which were created for human convenience, become a matter of inconvenience? What if, it “pose a challenge to humanity’s capacity to control its own creation and, consequently, perhaps also to its capacity to be in charge of its own destiny and to ensure the survival of the species”?
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.
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.” The report cites the example of care robots, saying that people who are physically dependent on them could develop emotional attachments.