Moral and ethical questions for robotics public policy

Daniel Howlader

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2011; 2:G1-6

The roles of robotics, computers, and artificial intelligences in daily life are continuously expanding, yet there is little discussion of ethical or moral ramifications with regard to the long-term development – and even less discussion in the realm of public policy. A focus on artificial intelligence with respect to differing levels of robotic moral agency is used to examine the existing robotic policies in a number of countries, most of which are based loosely around Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws. This essay argues for insufficiency of current robotic policies – and offers some suggestions as to why the Three Laws are not appropriate for emulation in public policy.


Key words: robotics, artificial intelligence, roboethics, public policy, moral agency.