The three laws of robotics
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Isaac Asimov, ‘Runaround’, 1942
Thinkers like Asimov imagined a world where machines had to make what appear to be moral decisions. With the rise of autonomous, self-learning systems which power everything from planes to Netflix recommendations, we’re now entering the world Asimov foresaw.
But the famed author wasn’t laying out a machine behaviour manifesto for when the time finally came. He set about finding flaws in his own reasoning, probing the three laws countless times for paradoxes in his fiction.
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