Robot Ethics: To Sex Or Not To Sex

Illustration for article titled Robot Ethics: To Sex Or Not To Sex

With robots becoming more and more sophisticated—Robodinho anyone?—scientists are working to come up with a code of ethics to be programmed into robots. This has shades of Asimov's Three Laws, and bigger science fiction nerds than I can clarify whether they were to be taken at face value or more of a lesson that absolute value systems are inherently flawed.

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These scientists, like all scientists, are thinking about sex with these improved robots and how we'll be able to regulate said robosexuals. Euron ethics group member Henrik Christensen ponders the idea after the jump (with awesome quotage).

How far should robots be allowed to influence people's lives? How can accidents be avoided? Can deliberate harm be prevented? And what happens if robots turn out to be sexy? "The question is what authority are we going to delegate to these machines?

"People are going to be having sex with robots within five years," he said. So should limits be set on the appearance, for example, of such robotic sex toys?

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Definitely a conundrum here. However, I think we can all agree that if robots are going to look like the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica—Trisha Helfer, Grace Park, and Lucy Lawless—all these anti-robot-sex laws are going straight out the window.

No sex please, robot, just clean the floor [Times Online]

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DISCUSSION

Geezus f-n Christmas. That's all I have to say here. Some of you really think we're going to have robots with AI that allows them to 'think' in a similar fashion as human beings. That floors me. Robots can be made to imitate human life, and as such make wonderful sex toys, among other things, but in our lifetimes not ONE of us will see 'thinking' AI, but that's just my humble opinion, (and I'm sure I'll get blogally spanked for saying so.)

Don't you realize that neuroscience has not even begun to barely scratch the surface of how human brains form and retain memories? Let alone trying to detail in any substantial way how our emotions are formed, held, changed, etc.

When we talk about DBS, as used in Parkinson's, for eg, we're talking about a freakin' wire that is pushed into the brain tissue into a REGION of tissue which is then 'activated' by an electrical pulse the wire carries from the pacemaker. As amazing as that may sound to some of you, it's actually as crude as a monkey banging it's paws on a keyboard. Yeah, it gets a response, and in some it can be a temporary godsend (controlling bad tremors, for eg), but it's a far, FAR cry from us plugging some Matrix like snake into our spinal cord (or brain) then communicating in an intricate fashion with individual neurons and neural networks.

And DBS is freakin' cutting edge therapy/technology.

So please understand why I scoff so at some of the blogged responses here - this 'robot constitution' is perhaps entertaining in a way, but it's about as useful as typing up some kind of 'alien constitution' "just in case" the aliens finally come to take us all home.