Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Intelligence, Legal Ethical Issues, Moral Development.

Description: How do you feel about robots and artificial intelligence? Are you worried? Certainly there have been a pile of science fiction books and movies suggesting that we need to be VERY concerned. Well, leave the science fiction aside and consider the question of whether we should be trying to figure out how and when to teach robots ethics? Think about that and then read the short article linked below and listen to the podcast also linked below to have a look at how cognitive neuroscience is thinking about this question.

Source: A neuroscientist explains: teaching morality to robots – podcast, Daniel Glasner, Psychology, The Guardian.

Date: February 26, 2017


Links:  Article Link –

Podcast link

Isaac Asimov (if you do not know that name know that he wrote the book(s) upon which Will Smith’s I Robot film was based) wrote of what he called the three laws of robotics that all robots should have built in to their being somehow. They are:

First Law: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second Law: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Whether or not they work as a defensible and functional ethical framework the perhaps more important question is how might we “teach” some form of ethics to robots? The podcast looks at what is involved in considering this question.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Should we be worried about “intelligent” machines?
  2. What would be involved in “teaching” ethics to robots?
  3. Should we limit work on artificial intelligence? Why or why not?

References (Read Further):

Lin, P., Abney, K., & Bekey, G. A. (2011). Robot ethics: the ethical and social implications of robotics. MIT press.

Anderson, M., & Anderson, S. L. (Eds.). (2011). Machine ethics. Cambridge University Press.

Veruggio, G., & Operto, F. (2006). Roboethics: a bottom-up interdisciplinary discourse in the field of applied ethics in robotics. International review of information ethics, 6(12), 2-8.

Lin, P., Abney, K., & Bekey, G. (2011). Robot ethics: Mapping the issues for a mechanized world. Artificial Intelligence, 175(5-6), 942-949.