Saturday, 5 March 2011

We Robot!: The Three New Laws of Robotics.

2 of the 10 high-impact technologies I discuss in my new book are ‘Robotics’ and ‘Machine Intelligence.’ And one of the kernels of such technologies is how such apparatus not only evolve, but impact on us human-beings and our culture.

With regard to this, back in 1942, Isaac Asimov, the author and futurist, set out ‘The Three Laws of Robotics.’

The Laws are:

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

2) A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

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

Initially the Laws were thought-out in the context and application to Asimov’s science fiction works. However, what was once abject-out-there fiction, is fast becoming fact.

Leaps and bound are being made in Robotics and Machine Intelligence.

So it got me wondering? Wondering – in today’s and even tomorrow’s context – whether Asimov’s Three Laws needed up dating?

Asimov has in fact made slight modifications to the first three in various books and stories to further develop how robots would interact with humans and each other. Asimov himself added a fourth, or zeroth, law to precede the first three stating:

0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
Three Laws, and the fourth, are not completely appropriate for future robotic constraints but rather that their basic premise, to prevent robots from harming humans, will ensure robots are acceptable in their actions to the general public.

However, there is a more profound, yet broader way of looking at the Three Laws that both confirm, expand and better their moral influence.

Hence ‘The Three Higher Laws of Robotics:’

1. To assist in the development of human benevolent and mindful ethics.
2. To physically and morally care and cure the infirm, needy and sick.
3. To augment rational, accelerated learning and intellectual development.

These are of course a first draft, and will undergo some thought before being published in my new book.
To look deeper at there implications click on Ray Kurzweils and/or Joe Guarrea's websites.
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