The Internet of Things Needs the Laws of Robotics

How will our connected world navigate ethics and morality?

Joshua Marinacci (@joshmarinacci), is a researcher at Nokia, author, and speaker. We sat down recently to talk about the quickly growing internet of things and what the future might hold in terms of consequences both foreseen and unexpected.

Key highlights include:

  • And the internet of things is not actually so clearly defined [Discussed at 0:20]
  • The good, bad, and ugly of the internet of things [Discussed at 1:12]
  • Having every single thing connected is a risk [Discussed at 2:14]
  • The origin of The Laws of Robotics [Discussed at 3:24]
  • Should we be paying closer attention to The Laws as we populate the world with more and more robotics? [Discussed at 4:49]

You can view the full interview here:


or listen to it here:

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  • John H

    In suggesting that Asimov’s Laws provide an implementable framework for AI of any kind, this interview is ignorant of, well, more or less the entire body of AI Ethics. Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_of_artificial_intelligence.

    Asimov himself, across his collected works, tended towards the conclusion that;

    “His work suggests that no set of fixed laws can sufficiently anticipate all possible circumstances.”
    - Wikipedia, link above

    The above interview’s assertion that Asimov’s Laws are “tried and true” omits the crucial continuation “… in fiction”. The Laws are cartoonishly broad in scope and have strong potential for self-contradiction. I would honestly hope for better from O’Reilly, particularly because actual AI Ethics is really very interesting and relevant stuff.

    Perhaps the take-away here is that prescriptions regarding appropriate ethical frameworks for robots and the IoT alike require an understanding of ethics, rather than a good library of sci-fi fiction.