Teaching Robots Right from Wrong

Teaching Robots Right from Wrong

1843, 2017

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Visionary
  • Concrete Examples


The field of robotics is advancing at a rapid pace. Self-driving cars may be sharing the road with human drivers within the next five years, and service robots may soon be looking after the elderly and disabled. Furthermore, robot soldiers could be fighting alongside US military personnel in the not-too-distant future. But how can roboticists ensure that their creations – once unleashed – will behave ethically? British journalist Simon Parkin describes three different ways in which designers try to instill morals in their robots. getAbstract believes that both technology professionals and the general reader will find this piece intriguing.


Robots that drive cars, provide care to humans or support soldiers on the battlefield need to be capable of making autonomous decisions. Each situation they encounter will be slightly different from the previous one, so roboticists cannot simply preprogram these machines. But once robots start acting on their own, designers must ensure that their creations don’t engage in destructive behavior. Like humans, robots need to internalize moral standards that guide their actions.

Roboticists are exploring several techniques to train autonomous...

About the Author

Simon Parkin is a British writer and journalist and the author of Death by Video Game.

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