Is it OK to abuse, trust or make love to a robot?

A humanoid robot with the woman after whom it was modelled.
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO - Advances in artificial intelligence are blurring the line between humans and robots. As robots start to interact ever more closely with us, a number of new ethical questions are emerging, related to a variety of issues, from violence to sex to privacy.

Poor bots

In late February, a video uploaded on YouTube by Boston Dynamics, an American robot developer, sparked controversy. "I felt a little sorry for the robot," one viewer commented below the video. "Stop bullying robots!" another wrote. "I cried," said another.

Viewers of the video were apparently shocked by the scene in which a man knocks down a box that was being lifted by a two-legged humanoid robot developed by the company, and another scene in which the man knocks the robot down from behind with a stick.

Many viewers, on the other hand, were impressed by the robot's ability to correct its position to stand up after being knocked down.

Similar outrage erupted last year when the company posted a video in which a man kicked the company's four-legged, dog-like robots.

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