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Researchers Aim to Teach Robots How and When to Say ‘No’ to Humans

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Anyone who’s seen “2001: A Space Odyssey” likely remembers the scene in which the HAL-9000 computer decides to go against orders and strand one of the main characters outside the spacecraft. But don’t worry: This research project to teach robots when they should refuse to listen to humans won’t end up like that. Probably.

Tufts University roboticists Gordon Briggs and Matthias Scheutz are studying how to make robots more intelligent in the actions they take, and when those actions should go against explicit instructions.

Should a robot walk forward even if it means should it even listen to the orders…

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