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For Robotics and AI, Great Power Comes with Great Responsibility

Portrait of John Basl

John Basl, assistant professor of philosophy at Northeastern, studies the ethical implications of these emerging technologies. We asked him to describe the moral questions facing society as robotics and artificial intelligence evolve, as well as the challenges still on the horizon, and those we must grapple with quickly.

Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics stand to make our lives better. Dangerous jobs could be outsourced. Huge datasets could be analyzed instantly. Boring tasks could be automated.

But with any new technology comes risk. For example, the ability to organize and edit human genes—while promising for personalized medical treatments—raises questions about how comfortable we are exerting control over our DNA. Cellphones make navigation, communication, and countless other aspects of life more convenient. They also collect an unprecedented amount of personal information, forcing society to rethink the importance of privacy.

As robots join the workforce and intelligent algorithms are weaved into daily life, are we ready for what comes next?

John Basl, assistant professor of philosophy at Northeastern, studies the ethical implications of these emerging technologies. Here, he describes the moral questions facing society as robotics and artificial intelligence evolve, as well as the challenges still on the horizon, and those we must grapple with quickly.

Read the Q&A at news@Northeastern.

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