IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine is having the March 2011 special issue dedicated to Roboethics and has a call for papers up here. The deadline for papers is September 01, 2010.
After watching the movie Hardware again this weekend, I remembered that I wanted to mention this call for papers. I think it is important that the robotics community continues to think critically about the ethical issues involved with robotics. While in the long run the killbots will probably hunt down the last of the human survivors, in the short term the issues are fairly complex and demand serious consideration.
I think I saw a twilight zone episode where all the parents were replaced with robots, this could be our future. Imagine the nutritional improvements that can be made to children's diets. What child would argue with a robot about eating their peas, especially a robot equipped with a 10 KiloVolt synaptic persuader. The robotic guardians would also be able to monitor and enforce critical educational tasks such as homework completion when interfaced with a household wireless mesh sensor network.
While the research is clear the robot guardians can enhance the lives of children who are lucky enough to have parents able to afford robotic supervision, what about those children whose parents are unable to afford such compaionship. Is it ethical to allow children to not be raised by robots?
The Roboethics website may have more information in the future after they recover from being hacked. Possibly by a malignant artificial intelligence. Fortunatly, time travelers have saved a copy of the information in hopes that one day someone can make use of it.