This week’s Nature has a section on ethical aspects of robotics and artificial intelligence. Reading this article, the associated comments, and the accompanying special section on Machine Intelligence in this week’s issue, has left me deeply concerned. The accelerating capabilities of both individual intelligent machines and the Internet itself raise all sorts of questions about whether human beings will be better off or not if artificial intelligence continues to evolve in its current uncontrolled fashion. It seems we need a measured assessment of both the potentials and hazards of this thrust before we proceed much further. Clearly it is always difficult to accurately anticipate the path of an emerging technology and to create guidelines concerning its development and implementation. Nonetheless society has done this previously in the context of other transformative technologies such as nuclear weapons and genetic engineering. Although there is plenty of hype in the media, it surprises me how little the issue of Artificial Intelligence has been addressed by ethicists or by governmental bodies.