Issues Magazine

Articles about robotics

Technology’s Slippery Slope

By James Newton-Thomas

The problems we face from technology and AI are not a point on the horizon – they are starting now – and the issue is not the technologies themselves but the inability of our current systems and ideologies to adapt to them ethically.

Many years ago I took an opportunity to climb Uluru. Climbing the rock is now discouraged by the local indigenous people, partially on cultural grounds but also because it is actually very dangerous. The rock is an undulating series of domes, very smooth, very hard and red with precipitous sides. Being dome-like, the surface has no sudden edge; it slowly increases its gradient until such an angle that falling – some tourists have toppled to their deaths – is inevitable.

Artificial intelligence – can we keep it in the box?

By Huw Price (1) and Jaan Tallinn (2)

We should stop treating intelligent machines as the stuff of science fiction.

We know how to deal with suspicious packages – as carefully as possible! These days, we let robots take the risk. But what if the robots are the risk? Some commentators argue we should be treating AI (artificial intelligence) as a suspicious package, because it might eventually blow up in our faces. Should we be worried?

This article was originally published at The Conversation.

Lethal autonomous robots: who's really in control?

By Ken Fraser

Anxiety about lethal autonomous robots has some substance.

The state of play as currently constituted, however, already provides enough cause for concern. The Terminator scenario Monash associate professor Robert Sparrow evokes in his recent article – in which the machines decide humanity is no longer useful – is a long way from reality.

The Existential Robot: Living with Robots May Teach Us to Be Better Humans

By Julie Carpenter

Human–robot interaction researcher

We are among the first humans to be regularly living and working with robots. What do we expect from our new robot companions?

Some people have interactions with robots every day, but many of us have never seen a robot in person. In the near future, people will be more likely to interact with many kinds of robots daily in roles like personal caregiver, household help, and assistants in firefighting, security and healthcare tasks. Socially, people may interact with robots in many different ways.

What Is a Robot?