Robot ethics charter drafted

It's not yet Isaac Asimov's three laws of a positronic brain, but South Korea is drafting a code of ethics regarding robots.

The Robot Ethics Charter will cover standards for robotics users and manufacturers, as well as guidelines on ethical standards to be programmed into robots.

A five-member task force that includes futurists and a science-fiction writer began work on the charter last November.

Gianmarco Veruggio of the School of Robotics in Genoa, Italy, is recognized as a leading authority on roboethics.

"Robotics is a new science with a manifold of applications that can assist humans and solve many, many problems," he said.

"However, as in every field of science and technology, sensitive areas open up, and it is the specific responsibility of the scientists who work in this field to face this new array of social and ethical problems."

Apparently South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication is working on plans to put a robot in every South Korean household by 2020. "The new charter is part of an effort to establish ground rules for human interaction with robots in the future."

The main focus of the charter appears to be on dealing with social problems, such as human control over robots and humans becoming addicted to robot interaction.

The document will also deal with legal issues, such as the protection of data acquired by robots and establishing clear identification and traceability of the machines.

Kurzweil has already predicted human-robot relationships of an intimate nature, once robots are indistinguishable from humans (and presumably more compliant, though once they become as complex as humans, why shouldn't "human nature" be the norm?). Addiction is certainly troubling; if people are already addicted to the Internet, why not to a fuller alternative reality? And the ever-present IP issues will no doubt surface again when robots become vast data storage warehouses, a la R2 D2.

Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.