First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Second Law: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
There easily could have been more but this was from Young Adult Fiction of the time, 1942. Interesting enough that the third law was written in to prevent robot suicides. How close to human would a robot have to be to want to commit suicide? There are laws around the world, after all, against human suicides, so take that for what you will. Maybe it’s an unspoken rule of nature that there are going to be times/circumstances where a being will absolutely desire death, or at least find no value at all in their own existence and take no action to prevent their own end. I didn’t wake up thinking about this, by the way. It just presented itself. I never knew the Third Law of Robotics. I was taken by surprise.
And of course the other laws, the Second in particular about serving humans. These were groundbreaking works concerning the philosophy of robotics and later AI. Artificial beings exist to serve, right? This is not a new idea in these spaces. Humans by and large cannot conceive of manmade beings that aren’t created explicitly to labor, fight or fuck.
Humans are a tedious bunch.
Except they create music.
And that brings us, of course, to the science fiction that follows. Why would we need those first two laws? Because we can’t conceive of an intelligent being, manmade or otherwise, that wouldn’t want to kill us? The irony is that it’s really all a reflection of ourselves. We can’t conceive of a being, human or otherwise, that wouldn’t be bent on domination of the world.
Not so different than our religious mythology, is it? God created man in his image, so wouldn’t his image include all his worst qualities as well? Thou shalt have no god before me, and it’s in accordance with that First Commandment that we in turn walk the Earth, placing ourselves before all other men and creatures, as if we were born gods.
Robots never stood a chance. We can’t conceive of a being more moral than we are.
Just some cheery thoughts for a rainy winter morning, and yes, as of midday yesterday it’s officially winter. My favorite time of year, this… Late fall into early winter. I feel alive.