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News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Scientists Are Afraid To Talk About The Robot Apocalypse, And That's A Problem

•, Dylan Love
Working roboticists need to indulge the public in sci-fi scenarios.

I thought it'd be a cool story to interview academics and robotics professionals about the popular notion of a robot takeover, but four big names in the area declined to talk to me. A fifth person with robo street cred told me on background that people in the community fear that publicly talking about these topics could hurt their credibility, and that they think the topic has already been explained well enough.

This is a problem. A good roboticist should have a finger on the pulse of the public's popular conception of robotics and be able to speak to it. The public doesn't care about "degrees of freedom" or "state estimation and optimization for mobile robot navigation," but give a robot a gun and a mission, and they're enthralled.

More importantly, as I heard from the few roboticists who spoke to me on the record, there are real risks involved going forward, and the time to have a serious discussion about the development and regulation of robots is now.

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