21st Century dilema: Can you murder a robot?

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2019

Author: Rob Ward

Back in 2015, a hitchhiker was murdered on the streets of Philadelphia. The hitchhiker was a little robot called Hitchbot that had been built at Ryerson University, in Toronto, to encourage people to pick it up and transport it with them on adventures around Canada.

In order to qualify as a robot, it had to have some basic electronics – including a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to track its journey, movements in its arms, and software to allow it to communicate when asked questions. It could also smile and wink.

The adventure started with Hitchbot being taken on a camping trip in Nova Scotia, and went on to travel across North America, having its own social media account, and finding thousands of fans. Until one night, it was “murdered”.

Hitchbot has now been resurrected but its destruction has raised many questions about how people will treat robots in the future and the ultimate “can you murder a robot?” dilemma.

Story via the BBC

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