Robot lawn mover
An anonymous reader writes: “HELLO, I’m Scout. Want to play?” My daughter has a toy dog that yaps and comes out with a few stock phrases. When it gets too annoying, I don’t hesitate to turn it off. I sometimes think about “losing” Scout, or even “accidentally” breaking it, acts that would be cruel to my daughter but not to the dog. But for how much longer will this be true? Technology is getting better all the time. What will it mean if we can create a robot that is considered alive? If I find myself annoyed by such a robot, would it be wrong to turn it off? Would that be the same as killing it? The answer isn’t obvious. Many people already regard robots more sensitively than I do. At Kofukuji temple near Tokyo, Japan, Buddhist priests conduct services for “dead” Aibo robot dogs. In Japan, inanimate objects are considered to have a spirit or soul, so it makes sense for Aibos to be commemorated in this way. Such sentiments aren’t confined to Japan, however. Julie Carpenter, a roboticist in San Francisco has written about bomb disposal soldiers who form strong attachments to their robots, naming them and even sleeping curled up next to them in their Humvees. “I know soldiers have written to military robot manufacturers requesting they fix and return the same robot because it’s part of their team,” she says.
“Protozoa are small, and bacteria are small, but viruses are smaller
than the both put together.”