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Robot Ethics Charter

The Robot Ethics Charter is a proposed set of rules intended to govern the interaction between humans and robot s. Devised by a group of robotics engineers in South Korea, the Charter expands on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics .

Asimov's laws were originally stated in a story called "Runaround," written by science-fiction author Isaac Asimov during the Second World War. Those laws have been taken seriously by some engineers, in an effort to prevent the evolution of robots that could harm people or disrupt society, while allowing robots to protect themselves against unreasonable destruction. The Korean charter recognizes that robots may require legal protection from abusive humans, just as animals sometimes need legal protection from their owners. The notion of legal protections for robots and other smart machines arose from a 2006 paper published in England suggesting that robots will eventually become smart enough to demand recognition as viable members of society.

While some experts welcome the introduction of the Robot Ethics Charter and similar proposals, noting that wanton human abuse of intelligent machines could be cause for moral outrage, others think the idea is symptomatic of a social protection mentality that has gotten out of control.

This was last updated in August 2007

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