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Robotics

How To Change U.S. Laws To Promote Robotics 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-worry-about-the-kill-all-humans-part dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A law professor says the U.S. could fall behind in the robotics race if we don't change product liability law. A new op-ed over at Mashable expands upon this: Yet for all its momentum, robotics is at a crossroads. The industry faces a choice — one that you see again and again with transformative technologies. Will this technology essentially be closed, or will it be open? ... What does it mean for robotics to be closed? Resembling any contemporary appliance, they are designed to perform a set task. They run proprietary software and are no more amenable to casual tinkering than a dishwasher. Open robots are just the opposite. By definition, they invite contribution. It has no predetermined function, runs third-party or even open-source software, and can be physically altered and extended without compromising performance. Consumer robotics started off closed, which helps to explain why it has moved so slowly."
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How To Change U.S. Laws To Promote Robotics

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  • the primary purpose and largest market for robotics will be for weapons. It will thus of course be mostly a closed-source system. You're either on the gravy train of the military-industrial complex or you're ballast under the tracks

    • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:24PM (#45839291)

      the primary purpose and largest market for robotics will be for weapons.

      That or manufacturing. Some (most) robotic assembly plants aren't safe for humans already.

      In either case, changing product liability laws is EXACTLY the wrong thing to do.

      A "product" is not the place for hackers and experimenters. You can build anything you want in your basement or maker shed, but if you want to build a product for sale, you better have some strict testing and insurance.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Agreed. But then again, it's not straightforward how to extend liability laws to Amazon delivery drones or driverless cars. I don't see that being permissive with these extensions would necessarily help robotics be more "open". That's a separate issue. But I do think that it would help pave the way for killer robot apps (not: killer robots) if legislators didn't prohibit their application from day one.
      • by iggymanz (596061)

        but this is article about the USA. the manufacturing by robots for consumer products largely won't be done here. but making robot weapons, yes, that will be done here

        • by icebike (68054)

          but this is article about the USA. the manufacturing by robots for consumer products largely won't be done here. but making robot weapons, yes, that will be done here

          Really: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/images/stories/large/2011/01/02/97967037.jpg [theepochtimes.com]

        • this is article about the USA. the manufacturing by robots for consumer products largely won't be done here.

          Robot manufacturing will bring manufacturing back to the US because it drastically reduces shipping costs. The US has tons of natural resources to support manufacturing, robots cost about the same to operate no matter where they are in the world. so shipping will be the primary area of cost reduction.

          Of course nobody will have a job so they won't be able to buy anything, but that's somebody else's problem...

          • by jythie (914043)
            Heh. In all seriousness, one of the biggest issues we face is the mythology that someone else`s problem is just someone else`s problem, and how often other people`s problems become our own in subtle ways.
      • by umafuckit (2980809) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @05:04PM (#45839561)
        None of this is really what the article is about, though. The thesis is simply that manufacturers of open robotics platforms (which are out there right now) should not be legally responsible for what people do with those platforms. The argument is that making them liable will reduce the pace of innovation.
        • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @07:37PM (#45840779)

          None of this is really what the article is about, though. The thesis is simply that manufacturers of open robotics platforms (which are out there right now) should not be legally responsible for what people do with those platforms. The argument is that making them liable will reduce the pace of innovation.

          But again, this is a non-issue.

          You buy a Chainsaw from direct from the manufacturer, and that manufacturer is in no way responsible when you murder someone and chop them up with the saw to dispose of the body. Anti-Gun people have been routinely rebuffed by the courts when trying to sue gun manufacturers because someone used their products to commit murder. Nobody holds an automaker responsible when someone intentionally uses their vehicles to commit crimes.

          The law and the courts are already pretty good at affixing blame, and in spite of the deep pocket horror stories, these tactics of going after the up-stream manufacturer virtually never work in the real world.

          • But again, this is a non-issue.

            I too would have thought it was an issue, but I have no idea about the field. Presumably the author of the essay has some reason for thinking litigation is a concern in open robotics.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          The real question is then, how easily innovative do you want the assassin bot with questionable legal responsibility to be. By questionable of course I mean, is the original manufacturer responsible for the insertion of the applicable code, is the owner responsible for the insertion of the applicable code, is a hacker responsible for the insertion of the applicable code or is an unmentionable government agency which shows wilful intent for criminal activity responsible for the insertion of the applicable c

      • by Immerman (2627577) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @05:35PM (#45839759)

        I don't know, it seems like this is a fairly complicated question, it might be worth at least formally clarifying some boundaries.

        Lets say we have industrial robots designed specifically to be user-programmable, as I believe most of them are. If there is a defect in the hardware that causes an accident then the company making the hardware is at fault. If however it was a defect (or intentional nefariousness) in the user programming, then it is clearly the programmer who is at fault, not the hardware manufacturer.

        In the case of autonomous robots, be they car/drone/cyborg/whatever, I think the same logic would reasonably apply - if you use the built-in control systems and they malfunction in a way that damages someone/thing then the manufacturer is at fault, but if the damage was reasonably traced to the orders it was following, then it's the person giving the orders that's at fault. Lots of grey area in there though - what if a flying drone is ordered into an area where the winds are too strong to operate safely , and it gets into a damaging collision? Should the company have been required to actively notice and avoid unsafe wind conditions? What if the wind is gusty and there was insufficient prior warning to have reasonably escaped the "danger zone"

        Perhaps a special provision of liability transfer should be considered for autonomous systems, seeing how as with a sufficiently wide deployment accidents are inevitable, and the people best suited to make and improve the systems are not necessarily motivated to do so if they have to swallow the costs of the inevitable accidents. However, we could perhaps arrange for some liability transfer, where the systems are sold as fit for use in certain restricted conditions where the risks are reduced to acceptable levels, and the operator must accept at least partial liability to operate them in any other setting. An autonomous industrial robot may have a wonderful market in a controlled factory setting, but it may also have great uses operating in public. If the manufacturer is required to accept liability for the second scenario then it will likely take far longer before they're willing to release them for the first one. And if we outright ban the second scenario then we'll be depriving ourselves of the discovery of all sorts of potential for new usages.

        Perhaps we could do something simple like require users to carry comprehensive liability insurance in order to operate an autonomous system outside of it's specified environment. Much as we do to allow the operation of most any other dangerous machinery in public. The usage of customized software, open source or otherwise, would no doubt have an impact on the insurance premiums, but companies would be free to stand by their product and offer such insurance themselves, at the price they believe is justified.

        Of course enthusiast driven open projects would be hit hard - I imagine the premiums to operate potentially dangerous uncertified autonomous systems could be prohibitively high, but the only alternative I see would seem to be to allow enthusiasts to endanger the public without consequence.

        • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @07:48PM (#45840861)

          In the case of autonomous robots, be they car/drone/cyborg/whatever, I think the same logic would reasonably apply - if you use the built-in control systems and they malfunction in a way that damages someone/thing then the manufacturer is at fault, but if the damage was reasonably traced to the orders it was following, then it's the person giving the orders that's at fault.

          These situations are already handled under current law.
          If YOU use the build-in control systems, YOU are predominantly responsible. Its going to be up to YOU to prove the product was defective.

          There needs to be NO changes in the law for this to exempt OEMs from responsibility. A bazillion car analogies suggest themselves, from sticking accelerators to faulty on-board computers. And if the on-board computers fail in specific circumstances that they were warranted to handle, the vehicle manufacturer can pursue a claim against the computer manufacturers.

          There is no reason to build air-gaps in the law to protect upstream suppliers, because the burden of proof is well established in current law.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            Just like cruise control systems on Winnebagos right?

            Wrong.

            There's nothing black and white nor is there anything sane about product liability laws. People have for many years sued manufacturers AND WON, because they were too stupid to use the product in the correct way. Usually the'll win on some technicality which is why you end up with the most retarded warning signs on things.

            Like the three pages of warnings in my microwave manual which basically can be summarised by saying Microwaves contain microwave r

        • I don't know, it seems like this is a fairly complicated question, it might be worth at least formally clarifying some boundaries.

          Lets say we have industrial robots designed specifically to be user-programmable, as I believe most of them are. If there is a defect in the hardware that causes an accident then the company making the hardware is at fault. If however it was a defect (or intentional nefariousness) in the user programming, then it is clearly the programmer who is at fault, not the hardware manufacturer.

          And the decision as to who was at fault will ultimately be made by a lay jury...

      • "Maker Shed"? Really? People have been using the phrase "workshop" in some variant for probably 1000 years. You don't need to make a up a new phrase for it.

      • by Kohath (38547)

        Nah. Just skip it. Sure it's a great product, but so what? If you need to invest 50 times your life savings on testing and insurance and lawyers and regulatory compliance, then why bother even trying?

        All "products" should be designed by big corporations, with lawyers, quality assurance departments, and government-certified regulatory compliance divisions.

        Hackers and experimentors? What law school did they graduate from? They'll only get someone hurt.

        • by icebike (68054)

          Nah. Just skip it. Sure it's a great product, but so what? If you need to invest 50 times your life savings on testing and insurance and lawyers and regulatory compliance, then why bother even trying?

          If you haven't got the legs to get into the business, you haven't got the legs to stay in the business.
          If you can't obtain financial backing then you probably don't have a worth while product in the first place.

          • by Etherwalk (681268)

            If you can't obtain financial backing then you probably don't have a worth while product in the first place.

            Worthwhile can mean a lot of things. There are plenty of products people want that aren't available on the marketplace for reasons that don't really have to do with the value of those products to the consumer. Privately funded jumbo reverse mortgages, for example, are unavailable in at least a number of states, primarily because they're politically unpopular and banks get a lot of bad P.R. for underwriting them.

    • thus of course be mostly a closed-source system.

      Counterpoint: D.I.Y. Drones [diydrones.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You get this same rhetoric from the biotech guys. Face it. Removing safety restrictions from advanced technology gets people killed and maimed for the sake of a few bucks and "technological progress."

  • Well that says it all doesn't it, too bad no one has stopped to consider the implications of 8 billion people and jobs moved to robotics.

    • too bad no one has stopped to consider the implications of 8 billion people and jobs moved to robotics.

      Except that these "implications" have been studied to death, and even discussed numerous times on Slashdot. The vast majority of economists consider automation and productivity to be good things. Wealth and prosperity come from the production of goods and services, not by "keeping people busy". There is some question about the distribution of the increasing wealth, but the same concerns were raised when cars, computers, and even telephones were first introduced, with many predicting that they would be av

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is no reason to expect robotics to be different from previous episodes of automation.

        There you go, that's the most dangerous assumption. I can tell you right now in my dealings with the various right wingers, that there is ZERO chance that in a world where there is little need for human labor would there be economic prosperity for the majority of the population. Right wingers view other human beings as automatons that only have value if they can make money off of them. Human beings have no intrinsic value to a right winger, that's why they are opposed to virtually all the social advanc

        • ... in a world where there is little need for human labor ...

          This is zero sum thinking. That is not how real economies work. Here is a thought experiment: You run a factory making widgets, that employs 100 workers. Someone invents a tool that has negligible cost and doubles the output of each worker. What do you do?
          Option A: Fire half your workers since they are no longer needed.
          Option B: Realize that each worker is now generating twice as much revenue and far more profit, so you hire more workers and expand your factory.
          Throughout history, in each new wave of

          • by dryeo (100693)

            If you pick option B you'll be out of business unless there is a very large demand for your widgets. While you're tying up your capital in expanding your factory, your competition is lowering their prices as they only need half the workers to make widgets so you're out competed. As the workers have less money on average the price of widgets has to come down.
            Now with more workers out of work something has to be done. There is no longer a new world to send them to so we're left with the historic choices of ja

      • by koan (80826)

        OK so here's my vision of the future, robot mining, robots transport ore to foundry, robots process ore to material, robots take material to factory, robots manufacture, robots deliver, robots repair, robots construct, robots guard, robots farm, robots fight wars.
        All that's needed, even at this point, would be a functional AI, and some of the AI work I've seen is coming along "nicely".

        Crazy right? Read too much SciFi right? I'm guessing if things progress as I see them that some where around 8 or 9 billion

  • Robotics will lead to joblessness and unemployment beyond anything the world has seen before. Get used to it, and figure out how to deal with it now, instead of waiting until it becomes a crisis.

    Look at US progress in less than 300 years. From horse drawn carts to self driving cars. We will make at least that much a change in the next 100 years. Anyone who can think enough to breathe, knows Robotics will revolutionize at least blue collar work, and possibly (when is the question) white collar work as well.
    • Heck I will even revise my comment

      "Consumer robotics started off closed, which helps to explain why it has moved so slowly"

      No, exactly the opposite. Open ROS is why robotics has moved so slowly. No profit, no motive. MS left the game a long time ago (and MS Robotics Studio was just incubator for other .Net components anyhow).
      • by icebike (68054)

        Assuming open ROS is holding back development, simply because no one can patent the ROS sort of overlooks the fact they they can still patent the product manufactured while using an open ROS as well as the Robot itself, and they can copyright the specific ROS implementation.

        You might as well claim that English or [insert random language] is holding back civilization because no one can patent language in general.

        Microsoft's success was because, like the Marines, they arrived "firstest with the mostest." A s

      • Lack of funding is the root cause.

        Dangle some kind of carrot to the investors where they see a potential 100x ROI within 5 years, the money will pour in.

        Open ROS isn't the impediment, lockout from the infrastructure is. Drones can't fly, automated vehicles can't use the road, and anything that moves "by itself" makes its owner liable for death and/or dismemberment of any depressed psycho that throws themselves infront of the machine.

        More "open" cultures (like Australia, surprisingly) are going to eat the U

    • the inevitable marriage between robotics and 3D printing will eliminate most jobs, and all that goes with it.
      • the inevitable marriage between robotics and 3D printing will eliminate most jobs, and all that goes with it.

        Too late. The neolithic agricultural revolution has already eliminated 99% of the jobs. Very, very few people are now employed as hunter-gatherers.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Robotics will lead to joblessness and unemployment beyond anything the world has seen before. Get used to it, and figure out how to deal with it now, instead of waiting until it becomes a crisis.

      Well currently many parts of the world is experiencing an aging population with far more retirees and non-working to working people, so I think for the next 20-30 years or they'll be happy for every advance robotics can give them. Healthcare and care for the elderly is currently very high on people time and very low on robotics, despite all the fancy equipment a hospital or nursing home doesn't run without a small army of doctors and nurses. If we can have automatic cars to transport goods and people it'd f

    • Automation has lead to joblessness and unemployment beyond anything the world has seen before. Get used to it, and figure out how to deal with it.

      F.T.F.Y. We're going to have to decide which commodities are free to the commons (like air to breathe, water to drink, roads to travel on, restrooms to be sanitary in), and which need to be allocated based on some kind of merit (money) system. Things that can be provided by automated servant (robotically, or otherwise) are hopefully moving to the free to the commons list.

      We are already servants to our machines. How much of your income is spent on your vehicle(s)? And, that building you live in, what per

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Just because it's produced by robots doesn't mean it'll be free, even if you eliminated the farmer you'd still need the land, the seeds, the fertilizer, planting machines, harvesting machines, gas to operate the machinery and so on. Fully automating it won't make it into a horn of plenty, it'll still cost something but you'll be out of a job and don't have anything to pay with. Maybe you think it'll be some kind of socialist paradise, but experience indicates that the "useless" people who produce nothing wi

        • If (when?) the machines construct and service themselves, they can mine the raw materials, build the roads, and the solar cells / wind farms / hydro dams, and the houses. Seeds and (sustainable) fertilizer are a byproduct of farming, not a product that mysteriously appears on store shelves. Full automation including automated manufacture and maintenance of the machines may look "far fetched" in 2014, but so much that is common today was beyond far fetched in 1914.

          I don't see an inherent limit on "the rise

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is this April 1st?
    Are you having a larf?

    If this was to happen then a lot of lawyers would lose their income. After all, they have to pay back those student loans somehow. And when that is done, there is the downpaymen on their persona LearJet to fund.

  • People can be killed by cheaply made robots, so the US can "win the robotics race."

    Why don't we instead have companies here develop the technology for the safest robots so they eventually become the ones most used around the world.

    • People can be killed by cheaply made robots, so the US can "win the robotics race."

      This seems backwards to me. Robots open up many new opportunities for asymmetric warfare. Attacks with suicide bombers are limited by the number of volunteers willing to die. Cheap robots do not have the same limitation. Once Al Qaeda masters robotics, we will be in big trouble.

      • by Etherwalk (681268)

        Attacks with suicide bombers are limited by the number of volunteers willing to die. Cheap robots do not have the same limitation. Once Al Qaeda masters robotics, we will be in big trouble.

        Actually, the number of volunteers willing to die is really not the limiting factor, although I'll admit it's a limiting factor in certain areas of the world. Terrorist groups manipulate people into suicide bombing with specific and effective methods. Martyr propaganda videos, lessons on what the target of the bombing does to the culture's women (including videos of rapes by people who look western), etc...

        • Actually, the number of volunteers willing to die is really not the limiting factor, although I'll admit it's a limiting factor in certain areas of the world.

          Ah, but one of those "certain areas of the world" is cities in America. It is easy to recruit a bomber in Kandahar or Gaza, but that doesn't help you blow up the White House. But a robot builder could dispatch a self driving car to drop off a swarm of fence scaling robots that could blast their way in. And he would live to launch another attack when the next swarm was assembled.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A robot is best used to do massive amounts of a single type of labor, i.e., an assembly line worker. There was robot hype before in the 1980s, when GM tried to make an all robot factory, and failed. Robots will not live up to expectations, again.

    • by stdarg (456557)

      http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2003/06/01/343371/ [cnn.com]

      But the company that sold GM those robots--Japan's Fanuc Ltd.--is worth another look. Fanuc (for factory automation, numerical control) has spent the intervening years turning its own assembly line into the lights-out model Smith dreamed about. At this moment, in one of Fanuc's 40,000-square-foot factories near Mt. Fuji, robots are building other robots at a rate of about 50 per 24-hour shift and can run unsupervised for as long as 30 days at a time.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:58PM (#45839517)

    AFAIK the US congress never passed the "Three Laws of Robotics" in the first place.
    Maybe they should

    And while we are talking about Asimov, maybe they should put some money into researching Thiotimoline

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:59PM (#45839521) Homepage

    I just read the article. I'm not impressed.

    First, the author is trying to make his case look good by framing the issue in terms of "open robots". The paper could equally well be titled "Let's Legalize Killer Robots!". What he wants to to is provide legal immunity for manufacturers against harm caused by their robots. His justification for this is a law Congress passed, at the urging of the pro-gun crowd, to immunize manufacturers against suits by people injured by their guns. Even that immunity is quite limited - if a criminal shoots you, you can't sue the manufacturer. But if your gun blows up when fired, you can.

    Second, robotics is open now. You can buy lots of devices you can program. At the hobbyist level, there are companies like Lynxmotion. Most of the hobbyist robots tend to be on the wimpy side, but you can buy industrial robot arms if you want.

    Third, the main reason consumer robotics hasn't taken off is because the devices don't work very well. None of the robotic vacuums are very good vacuum cleaners. Even the expensive Willow Robotics robot the article mentions isn't capable of doing very much. Progress is being made, but slowly.

    I suspect this guy saw the DARPA robotics challenge video (probably the jazzed-up edited version for popular consumption, not the raw videos of painfully slow teleoperation) and started pontificating.

    • by mikael (484)

      Third, the main reason consumer robotics hasn't taken off is because the devices don't work very well. None of the robotic vacuums are very good vacuum cleaners. Even the expensive Willow Robotics robot the article mentions isn't capable of doing very much. Progress is being made, but slowly.

      Perhaps a turtle is the wrong shape for a powerful vacuum cleaner, but the perfect shape to covertly fiim turtles underwater.

      A better shape for a powerful vacuum cleaner would be a python. Some homes had a centralized v

    • by russotto (537200)

      What he wants to to is provide legal immunity for manufacturers against harm caused by their robots. His justification for this is a law Congress passed, at the urging of the pro-gun crowd, to immunize manufacturers against suits by people injured by their guns. Even that immunity is quite limited - if a criminal shoots you, you can't sue the manufacturer. But if your gun blows up when fired, you can.

      Which is as it should be; if my gun blows up when I fire it, that's the manufacturers fault (unless I did on

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think that's such a bad law though. Here's why:

      As it stands with firearms, as long as the gun is working as intended, you cannot sue the manufacturer for injury or death. That means that if Bobby Joe points his pistol at his pecker and pulls the trigger "just for fun," Beretta doesn't get the medical bill. It also means that if Bobby Joe points the pistol at Johnny Ray and pulls the trigger, Beretta isn't liable for what Bobby Joe chose to do.

      We like this. Guns are dangerous. They are weapons.

      • lol..."Warning: Robot is designed with Annoyance Code; randomly determined amount of work can be assigned before robot will become 'fed up with stupid humans' and may attempt to 'kill all the humans'. Use at your own risk."
  • The US liability system enriches lawyers and insurance companies at everyone else's expense. It's not just robotics that needs the law changed. There are thousands of different activities that would be promoted by changing the liability laws -- essentially anything that anyone could ever be sued for, from something as ordinary as having an honest conversation on up to really crazy, impossible things like selling an educational chemistry set.

    • really crazy, impossible things like selling an educational chemistry set.

      You mean like this successful Kickstarter project launched by the sconce store H.M.S. Beagle? [hms-beagle.com]

      Heirloom Chemistry Set [kickstarter.com]

    • The US liability system enriches lawyers and insurance companies at everyone else's expense.

      The liability system should still be there, it should just be easier and faster to resolve the disputes. The theory behind it is that if you cause harm you should have to pay for the harm, and an industry is only worth having if its profits are substantial enough to pay for the harm it causes. There are some obvious holes in the theory which arise from overly disincentivizing nonnegligent behavior (stuff you're not actually liable for) because of the cost of getting sued at all and because of the risk tha

  • Hmmm... robots ... technological/social crossroads ... buzzwords/phrases ... open vs closed source ...

    I see the Dice-a-matic automated headline generator is beginning to learn how to assemble the component parts of a Slashdot-centric clickbait story with minimal intelligent oversight.

    On the downside, the human editors will soon be replaced by robots.

    On the upside, Timothy & Soulseek will soon be replaced by robots.

  • ... robots should be able to kill humans...

    To the point.

  • Just look at this commercial for Old Glory Insurance robot protection plan!

    http://www.digyourowngrave.com/saturday-night-live-old-glory-robot-insurance/ [digyourowngrave.com]

  • What about FFA autopilot code reviews for at least things like auto driver cars and other robot system that can do a lot damage if things go bad.

  • health care for all or at least a no bill to a hurt persons.

    due you really want some who got hurt by say a auto car driver to be sitting at with bills racking up and bill collectors calling all the time for maybe years while the courts work out who is at fault and how will pay.

  • Maybe we need to make full time 20-25-32 hours a week with an OT cat or forced OT even for salary workers at say 40-50 and X2 OT at 60+

  • A manufacturer should always be 100% liable for the product they make, when used as intended under intended conditions. Warranty and fitness for purpose should not be waivable, ever. In software or hardware.

    Ok, how would this work in software, since you can't prove something bug-free? You can't prove it bug-free in general, but you can prove certain cases bug-free. Also, just as imperfections happen when making anything, warranty doesn't imply 100% of theoretically valid circumstances are going to get the r

    • Not only is this unreasonable, it seems to be pretty much impossible. Very few manufacturers of anything are held responsible for the bad things that happen when the things they make are used.

      * Cars
      * Guns
      * Knives
      * Drugs
      * Food

      And when your dalek kills someone, whose fault is it? Is it the hardware manufacturer's fault? Or the software writer's? Which of those writers? What if we can narrow it down to some component - maybe it's that component manufacturer's fault, not DalekCo's. Or maybe the steel/plas

  • by fisted (2295862)

    could fall behind in the robotics race

    Hahaha.

  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @06:48PM (#45840359)

    After much thought, I've concluded that robotics is a Faustian bargain. The best policy to their onset is to delay and obstruct them by any means necessary.

    Yes, automation will make products and services more available. But in every case the cost will be the loss of a human skill and a job. This trend will (and must) continue until all human skills and jobs finally perish. Ultimately all human endeavors, not just life's difficulties like work but it's joys like art will be better done by a robot. This progression will be unstoppable.

    In a vain attempt to keep up, man will have been upgrading ourselves cybernetically. In the end we will have no biology left -- we'll be 100% robot.

    No thanks. It's time to get off this merry go round.

    • by NoMaster (142776)

      Everything people do is something of a Faustian bargain. That's the whole point of the story.

      The moral is to be wise and strive to choose incontrovertible good as the target of all your actions...

  • ...To ruin robots for everyone. We've known that since the Lost In Space program of the 1960s. Whether Dr. Smith would create the software that turned Dick Tufeld's robot to "crush, kill, destroy", or whether Dr. Smith would be the one to bring the frivolous lawsuit vs. the "mechanical ninny" (more likely), it's the manufacturer that bears the burden of liability. "It is very foolhardy to activate a super android" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Nnd_JRb20 [youtube.com]
  • Treat robot product liability just as you treat auto liability. The only difference might be in that auto insurance usually does not really pay for all the harm that is done. In my state if you have a 10K cap on bodily injury that normally is absolute even if the person you injure will be be basket case for decades and never able to work a day in his or her life. So other than making caps on pay outs illegal traditional insurance on machines should fit robots nicely.
  • Would Ryan Calo sue a company that made a machine that had killed his dog?

    The concept of "voting" with one's wallet on the surface appears logical, until you start seeing loved ones die.

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