This isn't by any means a new topic; Asimov codified it in his famous Three Laws back in 1942; and Wired ran an article in 2005 that considered some of the broader ethical implications of introducing ever-more-humanoid machines into society.
There now seems to be a burgeoning discussion on this topic, spread widely:
* Illah Nourbakhsh's lecture (below) has spawned a CMU class: http://ethicsandrobotics.posterous.com/
* Patrick Lin (along with George Bekey and others) at Cal Ploy SLO's Ethics + Emerging Technology Group have authored several good papers, with some intro and discussion at the Stanford Law Center for Internet and Society.
* There are several interesting blogs covering this area, such as moral machines
That tree under Montague Expressway - During one of our rainstorms over this past week this tree became wedged under Montague Expressway on the Guadalupe River Trail in San Jose, California. So...
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