The Ethics of Robotics: A Discussion with Andre Mandarino
Robotics. The idea of man-made machines that need not be controlled by mankind itself. The thought has mystified us since the Renaissance. However, with the advent of computers, they have become a reality. Andre Mandarino is a participant in NC FIRST, a non-profit group that encourages young people to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through robotics. Radio Camper Noah Barton interviewed him about the Ethics of Robotics.
Andre approached me on a Wednesday morning on the Campus of Wake Forest, with an inquisitive and friendly manner. We sat down at a patio table, and I asked him his opinion on the future of robotics and the ethics that surround them.
With ethics and robotics, there’s going to be a fine line that somebody’s going to cross one day, where somebody is going to kill someone else’s robot, or destroy [it]. I mean, depending on how you look at it, you can kill a robot [or] you can destroy a robot. Both mean the same thing to whoever created it or whoever has an attachment to it. I want to think that human ethics should go along with robotic ethics if they’re sentient.
Ideas stirring in our minds, Andre and I touched on the topic of conflict between people over ideas applying to Robotics, as well as the difficulty of recognizing whether someone was a robot or not.
My first thought on this was Battlestar Galactica and the cylons, and they kind of have, like, an issue where they’re not sure who’s a cylon and who’s a human. There’s conflict between the crew with what they should do with the cylons. And I feel like that might happen if robots were to become sentient.
What do you think about topics like this? If you’d like to learn more about Andre, go to his NC FIRST team’s webpage at team1533.org. To learn more about NC FIRST and its yearly competitions, go to ncfirstrobotics.org.
For 88.5 WFDD Radio Camp, I’m Noah Barton.