Monday, July 25, 2016

Robot Violates Asimov's First Law (part 1/5)

Earlier this month, a security robot at the Stanford Shopping Center in Silicon Valley hurt a young child. The robot knocked down the 16-month old boy, Harwin Cheng, and then continued driving on its patrol route. Harwin Cheng's mother, Tiffany Teng, commented on the incident, saying, “The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward." The parents also reported that the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but thankfully no broken bones were suffered. Little Harwin's leg was also scraped from the robot drive-by, and according to his mother, "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries." Thankfully, the young boy was not seriously injured, but this does raise questions about robots operating alongside humans. Isaac Asimov's famous novel, “i-robot,” outlines three laws that robots must follow if they are to coexist with humankind safely. The first law states, “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” Are we already putting robots in public without proper safety precautions?

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