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Spare the rod and spoil the robot; your values may be at stake

Maybe you're not ready for a robot pet or companion, but they exist, and figure to become more important in the lives of humans in the years ahead.

Best of all, you can kick or hit the robots without any feelings of guilt. Or can you?

Set aside your own capability of aggression against a mechanical companion; would getting rough with a robot be akin to harming a companion animal?

Nancy Jecker, a bioethicist at the University of Washington medical school, says yes.

Jecker recently published an essay along these lines in the journal AI & Society.

We grab her for an interview, to explore her thinking about proper human behavior toward thinking machines.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.