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The Conscience Of The Machine

by Wendell Wallach

Computers touch nearly every facet of modern life, from desktop systems that facilitate entertainment, communication and research, to financial systems that initiate millions of transactions on world markets daily. The robots are also coming. They are already evident (although perhaps not recognized), as household appliances, manufacturing systems, museum guides, hospital delivery systems, toys, and even as lethal weapons deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soon we will have service robots caring for the elderly and homebound. Engineers have always been concerned about the safety of the systems they build.