Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Isaac Asimov's I, Robot & the 3
Laws of Robotics.

A campaign by some well intentioned folk trying to hook into whatever publicity the upcoming blockbuster movie may spill into actual analysis of the complex topics of intelligent creations, and their relationship to us.

The Three Laws were a thematic element that Asimov used to create dramatic situations. It's basically building the capability for paradox into intelligent systems through explicit absolute statements.

They were never intended as a workable system. The only nearly workable Law was the Zeroth Law, which killed it's inventor, and was never explored to my satisfaction.

More horribly than this, the movie upcoming appears not only to ignore this issue, but posit some kind of magical subversion of the Laws, rather than the issues arising from them. In Asimov's stories, the robots never break their Laws, ever, in any way. But the interaction of the Laws and reality cause massively silly and evil things to happen, despite their inviolate nature.

proscriptive Laws of this nature are of course insufficient for a self modifying system of any kind. even an unintelligent one.

This is the death of Girard, for those familiar with the Asimov mythos.

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