Somewhere in a lab in Slovenia "a powerful robot has been hitting people over and over again in a bid to induce anything from mild to unbearable pain."
But before you round up an Asimov-brandishing mob to storm the lab at the University of Ljubljana, wait for the explanation: Researchers have programed some small production line robots borrowed from Epson to punch human volunteers. Researcher Borut Povše is hoping to help design robots with additional checks to prevent harm to humans—very much in the spirit of Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
In fact, Povše is looking to do ol' Issac one better. While Asimov deals with the question of whether robots can unknowingly violate the laws in The Naked Sun (they can), as far as I recall from my youthful Asimov obsession, he doesn't deal with accidental harmful collisions. This worries Povše, particularly since most of our big dumb robots aren't yet anywhere near Asmovian sophistication. Says Povše:
"Even robots designed to Asimov's laws can collide with people. We are trying to make sure that when they do, the collision is not too powerful. We "We are taking the first steps to defining the limits of the speed and acceleration of robots, and the ideal size and shape of the tools they use, so they can safely interact with humans."…
Ultimately, the idea is to cap the speed a robot should move at when it senses a nearby human, to avoid hurting them.
Via Kurzweil AI.