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At first glance, you might think they should, simply because they are machines and that’s what they are designed to do. But then think of all the times you would not mindlessly carry out others’ instructions – and put robots into those situations.

Just consider:

  • An elder-care robot tasked by a forgetful owner to wash the “dirty clothes,” even though the clothes had just come out of the washer
  • A preschooler who orders the daycare robot to throw a ball out the window
  • A student commanding her robot tutor to do all the homework instead doing it herself
  • A household robot instructed by its busy and distracted owner to run the garbage disposal even though spoons and knives are stuck in it.

There are plenty of benign cases where robots receive commands that ideally should not be carried out because they lead to unwanted outcomes. But not all cases will be that innocuous, even if their commands initially appear to be.

… read more

Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Lost_in_Space_Jonathan_Harris_%26_Robot_1967.jpg

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