Three Laws of Robotics

See also Androids in SciFi, AI Glossary, AI Bibliography. The Singularity

“The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround” (included in the 1950 collection I, Robot), although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”, are:

  • 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 Laws.[1]
  • Zeroth Law – A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

“The Three Laws, and the zeroth, have pervaded science fiction and are referred to in many books, films, and other media. They have impacted thought on ethics of artificial intelligence as well.”


See also Androids in SciFi, AI Glossary, AI Bibliography, 3 Laws of Robotics

“And how will the machines take over? Is the best, most realistic scenario threatening to us or not? When posed with this question some of the most accomplished scientists I spoke with cited science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. These rules, they blithely replied, would be “built in” to the AIs, so we have nothing to fear. They spoke as if this were settled science. We’ll discuss the three laws in chapter 1, but it’s enough to say for now that when someone proposes Asimov’s laws as the solution to the dilemma of superintelligent machines, it means they’ve spent little time thinking or exchanging ideas about the problem. How to make friendly intelligent machines and what to fear from superintelligent machines has moved beyond Asimov’s tropes. Being highly capable and accomplished in AI doesn’t inoculate you from naïveté about its perils.

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Big Brother

See the Surveillance State of Facebook, Twitter and Google the Googlag (Google as Big Brother) who censor and shadow ban anyone who dares not to follow the Party Line of the New GroupThink.

Big Brother n. [after Big Brother, the head of state in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four] an all-powerful, all-seeing, authoritarian ruler or government.”

  • “1949 [G. Orwell] Nineteen Eighty-Four 209: One could infer […] the general structure of Oceanic society. At the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful […]. Nobody has ever seen Big Brother. He is a face on the hoardings, a voice on the telescreen.”
  • “1957 Economist (Oct.) 208/2: The reporting to the Privy Council of any evidence discovered by this court of “misconduct in the administration of security organisations” would usefully discourage the Big Brother mentality.”
  • “1968 B. Bettelheim Saturday Evening Post (July 27) 9/2: Neither a medieval absence of privacy nor a Big Brother’s spying that leaves nothing unpublic will do.”
  • “2005 Times of India, Pune (June 24) 5/5: Mumbai University is taking up the role of big brother and will soon tell students what to wear and what not to wear to college.”

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