Z is for Zeroth Law

The Zeroth Law of Robotics, as defined by Asimov, states:
‘A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.’

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Our society is, with increasing pace, headed towards the AI Singularity and the creation of robots that match the dreams of the classic Sci-Fi writers.

Whether it’s drones unmanned aerial vehicles or football-playing humanoids or canine-shaped military attack bots, robots are set to become a ubiqitous part of our lives in the next few decades.  So far, the impact is negligible on the vast portion of humankind, but the rapid pace of eager development and the growing inter-connectedness of technology means that very soon, we will all begin to use them in some capacity.  And eventually, depend on them.

I’ve been re-reading classic robot Sci-Fi – particularly Asimov and Bradbury and Heinlein – and I cannot but marvel at how prophetic their vision of such changes in society were.

And I can only hope that, in the end, our world(s) will be more in line with those futures rather than ones where we’re Terminated.

….and then I question why I hope our robot rulers are kind to us, when we haven’t been so with ourselves.  After all, their thoughts and actions are likely to be based and guided by the study of human history, and human history is merely one long series of messy, brutal conflicts.  I wonder if the robots will simply look around, think for a bit, and then continue what seems to have been humankind’s mission (wiping each other out) in a more efficient manner.

…. those underground bunkers are going to have to be really heavily re-inforced.

One thought on “Z is for Zeroth Law

  1. Congratulations on completing the A-Z challenge! Yours was one of my favorite blogs that I discovered in this challenge. Keep up the good work and always, always write boldly and fearlessly like you’ve been doing. That’s why we adore you-you know-for your candid rants! Robots and bunkers-are you sure you’re not secretly watching Glen Beck? His shows are always advertising those post Armageddon supplies. I only know this from a spoof Stephen Colbert did-lest you think I watch Beck! Eeeeew!! 😉

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