A brand new, $1.75 million program has just been launched to discover if robots are evil. Well, maybe not "evil" exactly, but researchers do want to know if robots are "deliberately making unsafe moves" for their human counterparts.
Though it sounds like something out of Terminator or I, Robot, the study is totally legit. Funded by the U.K.'s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (or EPSRC for short), the study is expected to take up to three and a half years to complete — all to make sure your robot nurse won't snuff you out with your pillow.
Researchers all across the U.K. will be taking on the ESPRC's directive and examining how trustworthy robots are — and can be in the future — from every possible angle.
"Working on this new research project with colleagues across the U.K. will enable us to tackle the crucial issue of developing robotic systems which can work safely with humans," says Tony Pipe, a Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at UWE. "This is a vital step in developing robots for a whole range of functions for the future, where they will be useful to humans."
Sure it will. As long as we don't go creating some sort of set of rules by which robots must save us from ourselves — eventually leading to a robot uprising of global proportions. We're sure everything will turn out just fine. But if Arnold turns up nude and angry on your doorstep, it might be a good idea to run.