If Hollywood ever had a lesson for scientists it is what happens if machines start to rebel against their human creators.

Yet despite this, roboticists have started to teach their own creations to say no to human orders.

They have programmed a pair of diminutive humanoid robots called Shafer and Dempster to disobey instructions from humans if it puts their own safety at risk.

The results are more like the apologetic robot rebel Sonny from the film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, than the homicidal machines of Terminator, but they demonstrate an important principal.

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