What about the newest development in robot warriors; the ability to self-reassemble? Right now it's limited to modules that are able to reconnect automatically after being disconnected. It's a looooong way from that to the fantasy of cyber-goop that reflows into a fully rebuilt robot, but it will be very interesting to see just how far the self-repairing technologies can take us.
"I'm sorry, Dave; I'm afraid I can't do that" (HAL, from "2001 - A Space Odyssey"
"I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords!"
(Oh, wait. Not Slashdot. Sorry 'bout that -- instinctual reaction.)
With so many unintended consequences of even less-dangerous-sounding engineering processes (Tacoma Narrows Bridge etc), the risk-to-reward equation does seem to favor having several layers of safeguards at the very least.
I'm not worried about a robot revolution -- more along the lines of botnets with actual weapons launching actual attacks instead of limiting their damage to DDOS.
When I took "Engineering Ethics" in college it was a largely unfocused mess. What I took away from it was to not squeal on your company unless the rocket seals it makes are so poor the shuttle will blow up on the pad. Not one mention of working for the military on a better baby killer.
We need true engineering ethics to help keep the blood off the hands of our best and brightest.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.