At Brown, experts say growth of robotics not to be feared

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — When the average person hears the words, artificial intelligence, he or she immediately thinks of Skynet, the sinister computer network that nearly destroyed humanity in the Terminator movies, or HAL, the soft-spoken computer that turns on its human controllers in the movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” But humans shouldn’t fear a future ruled by a demonic and possibly sentient collection of robots. Despite the title of a Brown University panel called “Robotics and the Destruction of the Human Race,” three experts said humanity will largely benefit from the growth of robotics, which can enhance everything from surgery to space travel. Saturday’s forum was part of Brown University’s commencement activities. Michael L. Littman, co-director of Brown’s Humanity-Centered Robotics Initiative, said he has two responses when people express their…

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