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Can a robot learn right from wrong?


We’re about to see the first generation of robots working alongside humans in the real world, where they will be faced with moral conflicts. It’s almost impossible to devise a complex system of ‘if, then, else’ rules that cover all possible situations, says Matthias Scheutz, a computer science professor at Tufts University. Instead, Scheutz is trying to design robot brains that can reason through a moral decision the way a human would. His team, which recently received a $7.5 million grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), is planning an in-depth survey to analyze what people think about when they make a moral choice.

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