Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York will also participate in the research project, which is funded by the Office of Naval Research. The project is expected to take approximately three to five years. Researchers hope to develop a robot that can think for itself and make ethical decisions without human instruction. In a military setting, the robot could potentially decide to shoot if American troops were in imminent danger or hold its fire if it detected civilians in the area. In a nonmilitary setting, a robot with a moral compass could play a much larger role in society then they do now.
“If the robot interacts with people — and our society is based on the law and moral principles — then the robot has to be sensitive to those,” said Matthias Scheutz a computer science professor at Tufts University.
For there project, scientists will first need to design a robot that responds to preset rules then further develop technology so the robot can respond past these rules and be truly cognitive with reasoning skills. The New England Council congratulates Tufts and Brown on this exciting new research and thanks them for their commitment to advancing robotic science.