Thursday, September 30, 2010

Robot Skin

Artificial skin to make it possible for robots to sense pressure may be produced soon:

Artificial Skin

It also shows promise for helping people with prosthetic limbs regain sensation.

Would a robot that can process several kinds of sensory input, including touch, and can pass the Turing test (carrying on a conversation that can't be distinguished from talking to a human being) -- a big step we haven't reached yet -- deserve to be classified as "human"? What would it take for an artificial intelligence to become entitled to "human rights"?

In one of Isaac Asimov's stories, a robot challenges the concept of "human being" in the Three Laws of Robotics. "He" decides that one of his fellow robots, having full sentience and superior intelligence, counts as "human." Therefore he is justified in obeying his robot comrade's orders in preference to those of flesh-type people.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

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