Isaac Asimov's vision of the future may become a reality, following the news that the South Korean government is to draw up ethical guidelines allowing humans and robots to coexist without danger.
The move anticipates the day when robots, particularly intelligent service robots, could become a part of daily life as the technology advances.
The South Korean Commerce, Industry and Energy Ministry said that it will complete the charter this year, covering robotics developments, ethical boundaries, user ethics and ethical standards on reconstructing and destroying robots.
Isaac Asimov created the Three Laws of Robotics in the 1940s, which stipulate that:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
- A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law
The three laws have been widely used in science fiction writing as well as in the serious consideration of the future of society by scientific groups.
The robot industry is one of South Korea's 10 next-generation "growth engines ". A taskforce will review global trends in the scientific community to make a draft for the charter.
The European Robotics Research Network is scheduled to announce a roadmap for robot ethics in Rome next month.
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