Rodney Brooks Photo

Rodney Brooks of MIT (with the latest incarnation of Cog, his humanoid robot) believes it likely that robots can achieve humanlike intelligence and consciousness. But when that happens, he says, it will be unethical to have them work for us - we shouldn't treat our creations as our slaves. He says, "You get into the moral question - would it be okay to breed a race of subhumans? Essentially, enslavers thought they were dealing with subhumans. If that's not okay, will it be okay to deliberately build subhuman machines? And certainly we feel now it's okay. We don't feel any empathy for the machines but that may be a consideration ultimately. I think we're a long way from having to face it...but the landscape is going to be so unimaginable that it's hard to say sensible things."