Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 223–234 | Cite as

Implications and consequences of robots with biological brains

Original Paper

Abstract

In this paper a look is taken at the relatively new area of culturing neural tissue and embodying it in a mobile robot platform—essentially giving a robot a biological brain. Present technology and practice is discussed. New trends and the potential effects of and in this area are also indicated. This has a potential major impact with regard to society and ethical issues and hence some initial observations are made. Some initial issues are also considered with regard to the potential consciousness of such a brain.

Keywords

Robot ethics Robot rights Human ethics Consciousness Robotics Autonomy 

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Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to express my enormous gratitude to the team at University of Reading, on whose considerable work this article is based. Ben Whalley, Slawek Nasuto, Victor Becerra, Dimi Xydas, Mark Hammond, Julia Downes, Matt Spencer and Simon Marshall all deserve rich rewards. The practical work described in this article is funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant No. EP/D080134/1. I also wish to mention the unnamed reviewers for this paper who did a thorough job. This led to several improvements to the paper including the addition of the section entitled “Functionality Argument”.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Systems EngineeringUniversity of ReadingWhiteknights, ReadingUK

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