Re: The AI revolution

Hara Ra (
Wed, 01 Jul 1998 23:32:19 -0700

>(This reminds me of the "zeroth law of robotics" some of Asimov's
>robots came up with, although the logical reasoning behind it remains
>unclear to me).

Asimov invented the Three Laws as a device by which conflicts could be created for his robot stories. A case of simple statements leading to impossibly complex results. The Laws (as I remember them 30 years later, feel free to correct me) are:

  1. A robot may not harm a human being, nor through inaction cause a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey all orders from a human being except those which conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its existence except when it conflicts with the First or Second Laws.

So, what if a robot has this choice:

	Kill someone, and allow 100 others to live, or
	not kill, and allow the 100 others to die.

This would probably immobilize the robot, which is the worst choice, so the Zero'th Law is:

0. A robot, when faced with a choice which results in harm,

chooses the one resulting in the least harm.

Implied is that this Law overrides the other three; that the phrase "except when in conflict with the Zero'th Law" is added to the first 3 Laws.

| Hara Ra <> | 
| Box 8334 Santa Cruz, CA 95061  |
|                                |
| Death is for animals;          |
| immortality for gods.          |
| Technology is the means by     |

| which we make the transition. |