Military sets out to create 'moral' robots

The U.S. military is awarding a multi-million dollar contract to anyone able to build a robot capable of deciding right from wrong and understand moral consequences.

According to the Office of Naval Research, the military is looking to build robots that have the capability of deciding right from wrong.

Engineers who believe they can pull off the feat will be competing for $7.5 million in grant money.

Can it be done? Well, experts say we're getting closer.

"Even though today's unmanned systems are ‘dumb' in comparison to human counterparts, strides are being made to incorporate more automation at a faster pace than we've seen before," direct of cognitive science program at the Office of Naval Research Paul Bello told Defense One. "As researchers, we are playing catch-up trying to figure out the ethical and legal implications."

As of right now, the U.S. military prohibits fully autonomous robots that can be used for lethal force. So any "moral" robot invented would not be able to be a "soldier" in the military sense. Despite the ban, military officials believe that moral robots could be used in other instances.

For example, Bello said, these types of robots could be used in non-lethal missions such as search-and-rescue operations and disaster crises.

Both military leaders and members of the artificial intelligence stress the importance of moral decision making in robots.

Researcher Steven Omohundro, an American scientist who conducted ground-breaking research in the area of Hamiltonian physics, told Defense One that, "Human lives and property rest on the outcomes of these decisions, and so it is critical that they be made carefully and with full knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the systems involved."

Robots with consciences would have an additional benefit--avoiding an all-out war with computers as shown in the The Terminator.

Read the whole article at Defense One. Recommended Stories

  • Peyton Manning emerged alone atop yet another category in the NFL record book tonight vs the Niners, as he tossed touchdown #509 under the national spotlight of Sunday Night Football (NBC). (Photo…

  • Former USC and NFL running back LenDale White added tons of drama to what was a relatively quiet Homecoming weekend for the Trojans.

  • Here’s a way to watch football and improve your golf swing at the same time. In your living room (or on the range), practice the one-minute golf swing, as shown in this video. Set the timer on your…

  • Dr. Roto, like many others, can't believe Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (pictured above) passed for over 300 yards and rushed for over 100 yards in the same game. First time that's ever happened…

  • As soon as those winds fall off, get into the stand! I always tell people you can't kill them if you aren't out, but if you want to try and pick an opportune time – this is it.


83,916 Fans online