DAWN OF SKYNET? Robots Are Learning to Disobey Humans

DAWN OF SKYNET? Robots Are Learning to Disobey Humans

DAWN OF SKYNET? Robots Are Learning to Disobey Humans

If Hollywood ever had a lesson for scientists it is what happens if machines start to rebel against their human creators.

Yet despite this, roboticists have started to teach their own creations to say no to human orders.

They have programmed a pair of diminutive humanoid robots called Shafer and Dempster to disobey instructions from humans if it puts their own safety at risk.

The results are more like the apologetic robot rebel Sonny from the film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, than the homicidal machines of Terminator, but they demonstrate an important principal.

Engineers Gordon Briggs and Dr Matthais Scheutz from Tufts University in Massachusetts, are trying to create robots that can interact in a more human way.

In a paper presented to the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the pair said: 'Humans reject directives for a wide range of reasons: from inability all the way to moral qualms.

'Given the reality of the limitations of autonomous systems, most directive rejection mechanisms have only needed to make use of the former class of excuse - lack of knowledge or lack of ability.

'However, as the abilities of autonomous agents continue to be developed, there is a growing community interested in machine ethics, or the field of enabling autonomous agents to reason ethically about their own actions.'