Hede.io Entry: Three Laws of Robotics

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov created what is now known as "The Three Laws of Robotics". They are as follows:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Also,

  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. Also,

  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

In Asimov's fiction the rules are from "Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D." and the three laws are hardwired into almost all positronic brains as a safety feature.

In later fiction Asimov included a "Zeroth Law" that is meant to guide robots that have control over planets or have some authority in governments:

  • A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

These robot laws can be viewed as similar to the ten commandments for humans. In Asimov's fiction the laws are implement with good intentions but almost always the three laws have unforeseen consequences or set up logic loop paradoxes when the robot encounters a situation and strictly follows the laws.

Probably the best pop culture reference to the robot laws is from The Simpsons/Futurama crossover episode.

Bender Bending Rodríguez: Oh, I can't do it. (kill Homer Simpson)
Lisa Simpson: What stopped you, Bender? Asimov's three laws of robotics?
Bender Bending Rodríguez: You think robots care what some hack science fiction writer thinks? I killed Isaac Asimov on the way over here. Well, Isaac somebody.

Photo Source: theinfosphere.org


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