Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Robot Violates Asimov's First Law (part 2/5)

Robots have injured humans before, including underreported mistakes and deaths caused by surgical robots, a man crushed to death by a robot at Volkswagen, and the first robot-caused deaths of Robert Williams and Kenji Urada. The robot that injured the young 16-month boy was a security model being tested at shopping malls. The Knightscope K5 is a five-foot, 300-pound security robot that begin trials at the mall a year ago. It relies on a variety of sensors and cameras to monitor its environment, and it can be directed around by human security guards. The robot is programmed to report any unusual activity to a central guard station. Consider that using the K5 robot costs only $6.25 an hour, which is lower than minimum wage. With recent government mandates to increase the minimum wage, what will businesses do to adjust to the new demands? Some will simply cut their workforce down and try to survive with fewer employees, others might skirt the law and pay illegal immigrants lower wages, and still others may look to robots to fill the roll. It certainly makes sense—robots can do some of the same jobs humans can with much less operating cost. But what will the cost be to us? Fewer jobs, for certain, but the public might suffer as well, if little Harwin is to serve as a warning. It's certainly clear that more needs to be done before filling our shopping malls with potentially dangerous robots!

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