How Do We Build Ethical Robots?

The US Navy is working with several universities on a new multi-year project designed to figure out how to engineer moral competence. One big challenge: Science still doesn't know exactly how it works in humans.

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers from several universities, including Tufts, Brown, and Rensselaer Polytechnic, will join with the US Navy on a multi-year project designed to answer a simple question: Can we build robots who are able to distinguish between right and wrong? To do this, the multidisciplinary team first has to figure out how the process works in humans, which Brown's Bertram Malle says is a big challenge in and of itself: "There is a fair amount of scientific knowledge available, but there are still many unanswered questions." Down the road, the enhanced robots will interact with humans in experiments that will require them to make decisions and explain them in a way that makes sense.

What's the Big Idea?

Rensselaer's Selmer Bringsjord says the need for morally competent robots is clear: "We're talking about robots designed to be autonomous; hence the main purpose of building them in the first place is that you don't have to tell them what to do. When an unforeseen situation arises, a capacity for deeper, on-board reasoning must be in place, because no finite rule set created ahead of time by humans can anticipate every possible scenario."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at ScienceDaily

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less