The ethical dilemmas related to the use of emerging digital technologies are increasingly critical, as technology becomes more complex, and capable of “thinking” and “living independently.

The ethical dilemma related to robots and robotics is not obvious and simple. Many projects aimed at a sort of ethical “regulation” already exist: last year, America’s Carnegie Mellon University announced a new research center on ethics of artificial intelligence; under the President Obama, the White House published an article on the same topic; technology giants, such as Facebook and Google, have announced a partnership to define an ethical framework for artificial intelligence.

Why should we talk about ethical rules for Artificial Intelligence?

Because even if the potential benefits are huge, we cannot have a clear idea of the ethical consequences. Some of them are actual, such as the Facebook and Google algorithms, which can affect emotions or elections. Some other ones are future, such as the self-driving vehicles or the androids at work.

How can we ensure that these algorithms are well and properly designed? What kind of rules should we give, for example, to determine promotions at work or the assignment of the room at the college? Should the local police use facial recognition software? What impact will it have on our privacy? What would happen if our Kindle were integrated with facial recognition software and bio-metric sensors? Could the device “read” the influence of phrases on heart rate and blood pressure? How do we decide what a driverless car can decide alone? How do we decide what the robots can decide to do?

Humanity will have to face questions not yet answered. If we will not be ready, we could risk altering the course of things without fully understanding the consequences in terms of huge inequalities.

Traditionally, technological advances go beyond the political process: we have already failed to draft a value card for o the same in the field of biotechnology or artificial intelligence.

Our future belongs increasingly to engineers and entrepreneurs, who are not necessarily required to give account to anyone!

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