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emotional machines

It`s a bit sci fi but could building machines that can develop empathy / feelings lead to systems that have an element of self interest ? I realise it`s a common theme for movies to have machines with a conscience ( good machines ) and machines with self interest ( bad machines ) , how do engineers and programmers promote and develop this technology without scaring the public ?

Although many scientists agree with the benefits of genetic engineering there is a lot of negativity towards it amongst the general public fed by a never ending stream of scare stories / films etc.......I`ve met people who believe that the "Matrix" could be reality

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