Our perceptions of robots come from computer game constructs, old sci-fi movies/TV programmes or kids toys.

Perhaps too often, our imagination and perceptions are constrained by our language. Does a robot need to be atoms rather than bits? On one level, will the term ‘robot’ become subsumed into just ‘intelligent network’ with some networks have physical peripherals operating remotely on a periodic basis? And even change its identity between atoms and bits over time? Does this matter?

Can a robot be 100% organic – perhaps existing at nano scale inside a non robotic creature and does that give it a separate identity regarding legal liability say?

When does a human-assisted tool (such as current surgical robotics) become an autonomous robot, operating according to the Asimov ‘laws’ of robotics? Will our grandchildren be composed partly of cyber materials and inherit from us our digital signature, as much as our genetical material?

What happens to the academic disciplines of economics, accounting, strategy & marketing when intelligent network robots get involved – do they redefine that theory in profoundly different ways, eliminating concepts like ‘economies of scale’? Should we value and measure (fundraising) impact differently if it’s from human intervention versus machine intervention?

Should corporate law apply to intelligent networks in the same way it applies to corporate entities? In the next 30 years, would ‘intelligent network’ peripherals govern us better than we can govern ourselves? And can we afford to wait that long?

What are your thoughts?