Cogprints

Did HAL Commit Murder?

Dennett, Daniel C (1996) Did HAL Commit Murder? [Preprint]

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Abstract

The first robot homicide was committed in 1981, according to my files. I have a yellowed clipping dated 12/9/81 from the Philadelphia Inquirer--not the National Enquirer--with the headline: Robot killed repairman, Japan reports The story was an anti-climax: at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant in Akashi, a malfunctioning robotic arm pushed a repairman against a gearwheel-milling machine, crushing him to death. The repairman had failed to follow proper instructions for shutting down the arm before entering the workspace. Why, indeed, had this industrial accident in Japan been reported in a Philadelphia newspaper? Every day somewhere in the world a human worker is killed by one machine or another. The difference, of course, was that in the public imagination at least, this was no ordinary machine; this was a robot, a machine that might have a mind, might have evil intentions, might be capable not just of homicide but of murder.

Item Type:Preprint
Subjects:Computer Science > Machine Learning
Computer Science > Robotics
ID Code:430
Deposited By:Dennett, Daniel
Deposited On:22 Mar 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:53

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