Friday, March 09, 2007

South Korea to Release Robot Ethics Charter

The government of South Korea has commissioned an expert panel to produce a report on robot ethics, which will discuss not only the ethical design of robots, but the moral standing and ethical treatment of robots.

I routinely teach the question of the moral status of machines. In some parts of the country I have seen universal opposition to the idea that a machine could ever be a person. SLU students are a bit more open minded. Now, South Korea is a famously plugged in nation. (I'm told they have gotten around DRM problems with music because everyone simply pays a flat monthly fee for unlimited wireless access to every song ever recorded.) It doesn't surprise me that cultures that are more technologically developed are also more open to machine personhood. This is a very optimistic sign: the places that are most likely to develop a machine who is a person are also the most likely to recognize the machines personhood.

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