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Book on robots’ rights by NIU’s David Gunkel inspires PBS Idea Channel episode

July 9, 2014

gunkel screen capture-xA book penned by Northern Illinois University professor David Gunkel provided inspiration for a new featured video on the PBS Idea Channel.

Hosted by Mike Rugnetta, the Idea Channel is a weekly web series with a focus on technology. Gunkel’s book, “The Machine Question,” helped inspire the July 2 Idea Channel episode, titled “When Will We Worry About the Well-Being of Robots?”

Rugnetta gives a shout out to Gunkel’s work beginning at 5 minutes, 20 seconds into the 13-minute video, saying the book “is so good” and “was basically was the basis for this episode.”

David Gunkel

David Gunkel

An NIU Presidential Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication, Gunkel’s 2012 book ratcheted up the debate over whether and to what extent intelligent and autonomous machines of our own making can be considered to have legitimate moral responsibilities and any legitimate claim to moral treatment.