The pace of development in robotics is accelerating very fast.While most people think that robots are futuristic, the situation is different on the ground.Robots are being used for automobile construction, automatic transportation of cargo, assisting surgeons in performing operations etc.Robots have also been used in patrolling toxic environments which are dangerous for human beings to work in.

While all these developments are good for mankind, several ethical issues are now arising.In an online document, one anonymous robotics researcher points out that the word ‘robot’ was termed in the 1920s.Its root is ‘robota’, which means forced labour in Czech.The learned researcher (I wish I knew his name) further says that the moral implications of machine slavery are one of the ethical issues to consider as the robotic age booms.The ubiquitous use of robots might eventually replace low skilled human labour, leaving people without skills or with little education jobless. This will not be good at all to our society.

In short, robotics specialists (I am striving to become one) will be the only people enjoying security in their jobs.What will the rest be doing?Stealing?No!In a robotic environment it will be extremely difficult to steal because robotic guards, complemented by wireless sensor networks, will sort you out.Maybe, witchcraft will work.The end result will be an economically paralysed society.The other ethical issue relates to the the treatment given to robots by humans.When do you switch them on?For how long should they work?At what point do these machines cease to be mere devices for work and become entities worthy of moral protection?Assuming a robot has been trained to do a specific task, is it moral to reset its memory and start it afresh?

In order to sort out these ethical problems, South Korea is drawing up an ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa (BBC).This will cover cover standards for users and manufacturers and will be released later this year. “Imagine if some people treat androids as if the machines were their wives,”said the South Korean robot team official. I laughed my lungs out when I read this statement. By the way, an android is a robot with human appearance. With the rampant promiscuity around, it is very easy for manufacturers to build an android which looks like a very beautiful woman in order to cash in on some immoral minds.Who knows, maybe it is already happening!