1. Some electronic experts, including Bill Gates, believe that within a few decades robots will be as commonplace as computers are now.
2. Advances in robotics will have widespread implications for the policy, service and regulatory responsibilities of government.
3. Public servants should begin thinking about the impact of robotics and, in some policy fields, positioning their organizations to manage it.
Myth #1: Significant impact of robotics on public organizations, including its values and ethics implications, lies far down the road.
Reality: Robots have become a significant presence in industrialized states and are already raising difficult ethical issues in such policy fields as health care, aging and the military.
Myth #2: Current values statements and ethics codes of public organizations are sufficient to deal with the rise of robotics.
Reality: These documents need to be revised to take account of new ethical issues arising from the increased use of robots.
Myth #3: Current ethical theories can serve easily as a basis for managing robotics in public organizations.
Reality: Deciding on and programming appropriate ethical principles and rules into robots is a major challenge.
Ken Kernaghan is professor emeritus of public administration at Brock University. email@example.com.