I've been reading about something called epigenetic robotics - I couldn't resist seeing as the term combines two of my scientific fascinations.
But epigenetic robotics is not (really) anything to do with DNA (slight disappointment). Instead, it focusses on studying the mechanisms by which robots could be made to learn like children - i.e. lifelong and open-ended learning.
Imagining engineering a robot so that on leaving the factory, it is programmed ready to learn, adapt, and evolve, is mind-blowing. Just like a human, you would never get the same robot twice.
Perhaps more exciting still is the possibility to offer the robot learning of ethical codes and morals before anything else - just like the development of super-ego in children is built upon their grasping of what is 'right' and 'wrong'...
Could it help solve our fears around the existential risk of developing powerful A.I. which may in turn destroy us all?