Morality and the future of robots

In March this year, AlphaGo, a machine created by Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) arm, DeepMind, trounced Mr Lee Sedol, a grandmaster at Go, the ancient Chinese game. AlphaGo used cutting-edge AI to beat a player acknowledged to be one of the greatest ever. For Go aficionados, the game will never be the same again, just as chess was changed when IBM’s Deep Blue beat then world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. That year, it was widely thought that while machines could master chess, beating the world’s best at Go – a far more complex game with near-infinite variations of play – was still several decades away. Deep Blue used brute-force calculation and sheer computing power to beat the reigning world champion. Not so with AlphaGo – a complex machine which…

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