Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

The Ethical Robot

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
Nao robot

Susan and Michael Anderson have programmed a toddler-sized robot called Nao to behave ethically.

Credit: Bret Eckhardt / University of Connecticut

University of Connecticut professor Susan Anderson and University of Hartford computer scientist Michael Anderson have programmed a robot to behave ethically. Their work is part of a relatively new field of research known as machine ethics.  "There are machines out there that are already doing things that have ethical import, such as automatic cash withdrawal machines, and many others in the development stages, such as cars that can drive themselves and eldercare robots," says Susan Anderson.

Machine ethics combines artificial intelligence with ethical theory to determine how to program machines to behave ethically. The researchers' robot, called Nao, is programmed with a principles that determine how often to remind people to take their medicine and when to notify a doctor when they do not comply. "We should think about the things that robots could do for us if they had ethics inside them," says Michael Anderson.

View a video of Susan and Michael Anderson discussing machine learning and the development of an ethical robot.

Interacting with robots that have been programmed to behave ethically could inspire humans to behave more ethically, says Susan Anderson.

From University of Connecticut
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found