The gruesome scene above started out as a sweet teddy bears' birthday party, but quickly degenerated into a fiery conflagration when the bears' robot servant attempted to cut them a piece of cake.
This nameless failure of a robo-waiter (seen in action below) was the winning video entry in SparkFun Electronics' Antimov competition – a contest challenging amateur robot engineers to build a bot that defies Isaac Asimov's third Law of Robotics: that a robot must protect its own existence.
A robot in Slovenia is bringing the pain in name of science, repeatedly punching human research subjects in an effort to see just how much of a beating they can take. As New Scientist points out, this is a stark violation of Asimov's first law of robotics, but the scientists behind the study say the point of the study is to better define that rule.
The long-awaited robot-led holocaust may happen any day now. That seems to be the finding of a secret conference of the world's top computer scientists, roboticists, and artificial intelligence researchers. The clandestine meeting focused on topics surrounding advancements in robotics and how they could quickly spiral out of human control. This includes the danger that robots could autonomously kill humans -- a danger than conference participants believe may already exist.
By Gregory MonePosted 06.29.2007 at 4:28 pm 5 Comments
One law down, two to go? iRobot, manufacturer of the Roomba vacuum, has teamed up with Taser to arm its Packbot robots with stun guns. But its hard to say whether this is actually a violation of the first of science fiction author Isaac Asimovs Three Laws of Robotics: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Clearly, arming a robot with a stun gun is the first step towards breaking that rule. But the Packbots, currently used as bomb inspectors in Iraq, are remote-controlled. If theres a human operator standing at a distance with his finger on the Taser trigger, is it really the robot thats doing the harm? Yeah, probably. But please discuss.—Gregory Mone
Octavia Butler, one of the most original voices in science fiction of the past 30 years, died on Friday after suffering a fatal concussion. Although she wasnt as well-known outside the genre as, say, Isaac Asimov, Butlers works were as thought-provoking as any I have ever read, tackling religion, gender and race issues within the boundaries of some highly imaginative speculative fiction. Butler was the first SF writer to win a MacArthur genius grant (it has since been awarded to David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Lethem, both writers with loose affiliations to the speculative fiction and SF communities) and was one of the few African-American women writing SF in any form. Her novels and short stories won the Hugo, Nebula and James Tiptree, Jr., awards. Butlers last novel, Fledgling, was published last year. —Martha Harbison