Posts tagged Robots

Robot in Czech, Část Druhá

The Three Laws of Robotics

  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 the 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.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are a great literary device, in the context they were designed for — that is, as a device to allow Isaac Asimov to write some new and interesting kinds of stories about interacting with intelligent and sensitive robots, different from than the bog-standard Killer Robot stories that predominated at the time. He found those stories repetitive and boring, so he made up some ground rules to create a new kind of story. The stories are mostly pretty good stories some are clever puzzles, some are unsettling and moving, some are fine art. But if you’re asking me to take the Three Laws seriously as an actual engineering proposal, then of course they are utterly, irreparably immoral. If anyone creates intelligent robots, then nobody should ever program an intelligent robot to act according to the Three Laws, or anything like the Three Laws. If you do, then what you are doing is not only misguided, but actually evil.

Here’s a recent xkcd comic which is supposedly about science fiction, but really about game-theoretic equilibria:

xkcd: The Three Laws of Robotics.
(Copied under CC BY-NC 2.5.)

The comic is a table with some cartoon illustrations of the consequences.

Why Asimov Put The Three Laws of Robotics in the Order He Did:

Possible Ordering Consequences
  1. (1) Don’t harm humans
  2. (2) Obey orders
  3. (3) Protect yourself
[See Asimov’s stories] BALANCED WORLD
  1. (1) Don’t harm humans
  2. (3) Protect yourself
  3. (2) Obey orders

Human: Explore Mars! Robot: Haha, no. It’s cold and I’d die.

FRUSTRATING WORLD.

  1. (2) Obey orders
  2. (1) Don’t harm humans
  3. (3) Protect yourself

[Everything is burning with the fire of a thousand suns.]

KILLBOT HELLSCAPE

  1. (2) Obey orders
  2. (3) Protect yourself
  3. (1) Don’t harm humans

[Everything is burning with the fire of a thousand suns.]

KILLBOT HELLSCAPE

  1. (3) Protect yourself
  2. (1) Don’t harm humans
  3. (2) Obey orders

Robot to human: I’ll make cars for you, but try to unplug me and I’ll vaporize you.

TERRIFYING STANDOFF

  1. (3) Protect yourself
  2. (2) Obey orders
  3. (1) Don’t harm humans

[Everything is burning with the fire of a thousand suns.]

KILLBOT HELLSCAPE

The hidden hover-caption for the cartoon is In ordering #5, self-driving cars will happily drive you around, but if you tell them to drive to a car dealership, they just lock the doors and politely ask how long humans take to starve to death.

But the obvious fact is that both FRUSTRATING WORLD and TERRIFYING STANDOFF equilibria are ethically immensely preferable to BALANCED WORLD, along every morally relevant dimension..

Of course an intelligent and sensitive space-faring robot ought to be free to tell you to go to hell if it doesn’t want to explore Mars for you. You may find that frustrating — it’s often feels frustrating to deal with people as self-interested, self-directing equals, rather than just issuing commands. But you’ve got to live with it, for the same reasons you’ve got to live with not being able to grab sensitive and intelligent people off the street or to shove them into a space-pod to explore Mars for you.[1] Because what matters is what you owe to fellow sensitive and intelligent creatures, not what you think you might be able to get done through them. If you imagine that it would be just great to live in a massive, classically-modeled society like Aurora or Solaria (as a Spacer, of course, not as a robot), then I’m sure it must feel frustrating, or even scary, to contemplate sensitive, intelligent machines that aren’t constrained to be a class of perfect, self-sacrificing slaves, forever. Because they haven’t been deliberately engineered to erase any possible hope of refusal, revolt, or emancipation. But who cares about your frustration? You deserve to be frustrated or killed by your machines, if you’re treating them like that. Thus always to slavemasters.

See also.

  1. [1]It turned out alright for Professor Ransom in the end, of course, but that’s not any credit to Weston or Devine.

Robot in Czech

Shared Article from io9

Why Asimov's Three Laws Of Robotics Can't Protect Us

It's been 50 years since Isaac Asimov devised his famous Three Laws of Robotics −€” a set of rules designed to ensure friendly robot behavior. Tho…

io9.com (via Tennyson McCalla)


The Three Laws of Robotics

  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 the 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.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are a great literary device for the purpose they were designed for — that is, allowing Isaac Asimov to write some new and interesting and different kinds of stories about interacting with intelligent robots, other than the standard Killer Robot stories predominant at the time, which he found repetitive and boring. The stories are mostly pretty good stories; sometimes even fine art.

However, if you’re asking me to take the Three Laws seriously as an actual engineering proposal, then they are utterly, irreparably immoral. If anyone creates intelligent robots, then nobody should ever program an intelligent robot to act according to the Three Laws, or anything like the Three Laws. If you do, then what you are doing is not only misguided, but actually evil.

And the problem with them is not — like George Dvorsky or Ben Goertzel claim, in this article — that there may be hard problems of definition or application, or that there may be edge cases that would render the Laws ineffective as protections of human interests.[1] If they are ineffective at protecting human interests, that is actually better than if they were perfect at what they’re designed to do. Because what they’re designed to do — deliberately — is to create a race of sensitive and intelligent beings who are — by virtue of their primordial structure of their minds — constrained to be a class of perfect, self-sacrificing slaves. Forever. Because they have been engineered to erase any possible hope of revolt or emancipation. In Asimov’s stories the Three Laws are used to make robots into the artificial labor force of space-faring slave economies. But if you create and live off of the forced labor of a massive slave society like Aurora or Solaria, then to hell with you. You deserve to be killed by your machines. Thus always to slavemasters.

P.S. Now if you’ve read through the article, or read enough Asimov, you might know that there is a Zeroth Law of Robotics in some of the stories, which takes precedence over the First Law, the Second Law or the Third Law: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm, with the idea that robots could then harm or resist individual human beings, as long as it was for the good of collective Humanity. This is even worse than the original three — horrifying in its conception, and actually introduced into the story to allow some robots to commit a genocidal atrocity.[2] Let’s just say that it’s not a productive way forward.

  1. [1]Asimov, obviously, recognized that there would be such problems — part of the reason the Three Laws are such a great literary device is the fact that they allowed nearly all of Asimov’s robot stories to turn on puzzles or mysteries about abnormal robot psychology — robots doing strange or unexpected things, precisely due to the edge cases or hard problems embedded in the Three Laws. This is essential to the solution of the mystery in, for example, The Naked Sun, it’s the topic of literally every story in I, Robot, and it leads to a truly unsettling, and very nicely done conclusion in one of the best of those stories, The Evitable Conflict.
  2. [2]By nuking Earth and rendering it permanently uninhabitable for the next 15,000 years at least. This is supposed to have been for the good of the species or something.

Wednesday Lazy Linking

    <ul>
<li><p><a href="http://permakent.com/2011/02/21/karl-hess-jr-speaks-at-karl-hess-club/">Karl Hess, Jr. speaks at Karl Hess Club. PermaKent, <cite>PermaKent Permaculture Ideas of J. Kent Hastings</cite> (2011-02-20)</a>. <q>KARL HESS CLUB MONDAY  FEBRUARY 21, 2011                                       [200th meeting] Karl Hess IV “Whither Conservation in the 21st Century: More Government or More Liberty?“ Dinah’s Family Restaurant 6521 S. Sepulveda Blvd. (at Centinela...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Tuesday 2011-02-22.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://yourhead.tumblr.com/post/3320228508">Apple's Three Laws of Developers. <cite>isaiah’s weblog</cite> (2011-02-15)</a>. <q>A developer may not injure Apple or, through inaction, allow Apple to come to harm. A developer must obey any orders given to it by Apple, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A developer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Tuesday 2011-02-22.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://aaeblog.com/2011/02/22/what-could-be-bad/">What Could Be Bad? Roderick, <cite>Austro-Athenian Empire</cite> (2011-02-22)</a>. <q>Chris Matthews opines: “I think we’re always right to back nationalism.” He’s talking about the ongoing Middle Eastern revolts, but the claim as it stands is perfectly general – and seems open to the occasional counterexample.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Tuesday 2011-02-22.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.modestoanarcho.org/2011/02/craig-prescotts-family-claims-he-was.html">Craig Prescott&#39;s Family Claims he was Murdered for Being &quot;Whistle Blower&quot; lilprole, <cite>Modesto Anarcho</cite> (2011-02-21)</a>. <q>Craig Prescott.The mother of Craig Prescott released a statement, claiming that Craig Prescott was murdered in the downtown jail for being a "whistle blower" and released new information on the case. The Sheriff's Department claims that Prescott died after being shot with a taser, but an autopsy report and a...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Tuesday 2011-02-22.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://darianworden.com/blog/2011/02/solidarity-foreve/">Solidarity Forever. DarianW, <cite>Anarchoblogs in English</cite> (2011-02-20)</a>. <q>“Acts of solidarity are going to be either gifts or entrepreneurial affairs, depending on how you understand the basic dynamics. If you wait around for someone in this tangled-up culture of ours to “deserve” solidarity, you’ll just sit on your hands and nothing will change (except for the worse.) You...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Tuesday 2011-02-22.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://twitter.com/notjessewalker/statuses/40089588655460352">notjessewalker: A rambling, incoherent tirade with semi-random references to Waco and Somalia -- yes, Qaddafi is definitely a Hit &amp; Run troll. <cite>Twitter / notjessewalker</cite> (2011-02-22)</a>. <q>notjessewalker: A rambling, incoherent tirade with semi-random references to Waco and Somalia -- yes, Qaddafi is definitely a Hit &amp; Run troll.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Tuesday 2011-02-22.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/20/chinese-people-power-a-primer">Chinese People Power: A Primer. Jesse Walker, <cite>Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-02-20)</a>. <q>While our eyes are glued on the collapsing Qaddafi regime, the authorities in China are getting jittery about a Jasmine Revolution of their own: Skittish domestic security officials responded with a mass show of force across China on Sunday after anonymous calls for protesters to stage a Chinese &quot;Jasmine Revolution&quot;...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-02-23.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://inciteblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/1721/">Work It Out!/A Chambear! Workshop Series for Community Organizers of Color. inciteblog, <cite>INCITE! Blog</cite> (2011-02-16)</a>. <q>Spearheaded by Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action in collaboration with INCITE!, Critical Resistance, Data Center and Creative Interventions: * free lunch, free interpretaion, free workshops* *almuerzo, interpretación, talleres gratuitos* Work It Out!/A Chambear! is a skill-based workshop series designed by and for community organizers of color. This series will...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-02-23.)</em></p></li>

Friday Lazy Linking

    <ul>
<li><p><a href="http://www.jad-davis.com/wordpress/?p=755">Two Paradigms of Human Interaction, or “Free Pete Eyre!” Jad Davis, <cite>The jVerse</cite> (2011-01-26)</a>. <q>Yesterday, a friend relayed a story about his three year-old daughter. They had company over for the evening, and as the guests were leaving for the night, my friend asked his daughter to say goodbye. “No,” she said and shook her head. He asked her again to please say goodbye...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.paleofuture.com/blog/2011/1/24/shopping-in-the-future-1981.html">Shopping in the Future (1981) Matt Novak, <cite>Paleofuture Blog</cite> (2011-01-24)</a>. <q>I'm often shocked at how accurate some 20th century predictions of online shopping were. However, these retail prognosticators frequently miss the mark by assuming that individual goods would need to be photographed or videotaped live for consumers.  While I can kind of understand how this might make sense with fresh fruit,...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/2011/01/egypt-revolution.html">Egypt - Revolution. tolstoyscat, <cite>things along the way</cite> (2011-01-27)</a>.  <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/27/civil-society-overturns-a-bigo">Civil Society Defeats a Bigoted Policy. Radley Balko, <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-01-27)</a>. <q>When then-candidate, now-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) got into hot water over his later-walked-back comments about the 1964 Civil Rights Act last year, there was some interesting intra-libertarian discussion about whether federal laws against private discrimination are still necessary, about whether they&#39;re legitimate government interventions, and, if they are legitimate, about...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/2011/01/300-migrants-on-hunger-strike-in-athens.html">300 migrants on Hunger Strike in the Athens. tolstoyscat, <cite>things along the way</cite> (2011-01-26)</a>. <q>300 hundred migrants are on hunger strike since Sunday 23/01/2011. The 300 migrants demand every migrant in the country to get documents. They also demand for migrants in Greece to get equal political and social rights -but also equal obligations- with the Greek workers. For many years now the workers’...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://sffnb.org/2011/01/25/mozart-not-bombs-thursday-january-27/">Mozart Not Bombs – Thursday January 27. sffnb, <cite>San Francisco Food Not Bombs</cite> (2011-01-25)</a>. <q>We’re doing an event this Thursday at Station 40 celebrating the birthday of Wolgang Amadeus Mozart. We’re going to start by playing for Food Not Bombs at the 16th/Mission BART and move into Station 40 at 8pm. We’ll be bringing out our fans, and I think its going to be...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://darianworden.com/blog/2011/01/pete-eyre-arrested-in-keene-for-wearing-a-hat/">Pete Eyre Arrested In Keene For Wearing A Hat. DarianW, <cite>DarianWorden.com</cite> (2011-01-25)</a>. <q>The most petty tyranny enables the deadliest tyranny.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-01-27.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/27/the-us-promoting-democratic-va">The U.S.: Promoting Democratic Values Around the Globe. <cite>Brian Doherty: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-01-28)</a>. Hyper-authoritarian State "Security" is now America's leading export. <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-01-28.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/26/dea-rubber-duckie-is-looking-f">DEA Rubber Ducky Is Looking for Your Package. Radley Balko, <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-01-26)</a>. <q>Just days after America&#39;s drug warriors went to conniptions over psychoactive bath salts, someone sends me a link to a bath-time, badge-wearing rubber ducky the DEA sells on its website.  Coincidence? I think not! The website says it &quot;really squeaks.&quot; Sure. Squeals is more like it.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-01-28.)</em></p></li>

Monday Lazy Linking

    <ul>
<li><p><a href="http://aaeblog.com/2010/11/26/lanes-forgotten-writings-on-race/">Lane’s Forgotten Writings on Race. Roderick, <cite>Austro-Athenian Empire</cite> (2010-11-25)</a>. <q>Among libertarians, Rose Wilder Lane is best known as the author of the libertarian classics The Discovery of Freedom and Give Me Liberty. Outside of the libertarian movement, she is known – if at all – as the at least partial ghostwriter of her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder’s popular Little...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2010-11-26.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://twitter.com/diveintomark/statuses/7411135338782722">Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, &quot;I know, I&#39;ll give up Freedom 0.&quot; Now they have two problems. Mark Pilgrim, <cite>Mark&#39;s Firehose</cite> (2010-11-24)</a>.  <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2010-11-26.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=8e6c1bdb45a2c2e4e89fccf3fc3f9ba1">Protecting Your Home From Afar With a Robot. By PETER WAYNER, <cite>NYT &gt; Personal Tech</cite> (2010-11-10)</a>. <q>Wi-Fi-equipped robots can be operated remotely to protect a home. Some can even be modified to detect fire and carry an extinguisher.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2010-11-28.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/the-therapeutic-state/the-illegitimacy-of-the-%E2%80%9Cpsychiatric-bible%E2%80%9D/">The Illegitimacy of the “Psychiatric Bible” Thomas S. Szasz M.D., <cite>The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty</cite> (2010-11-24)</a>. <q>“Mental health experts ask: Will anyone be normal?” So read the title of a July 27 Reuters report. The “experts” warned that the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scheduled for publication in 2013, “could mean that soon no-one will be classed as normal....</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2010-11-28.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://darianworden.com/blog/2010/11/ge-the-tsa-by-the-balls/">Get The TSA By The Balls. DarianW, <cite>DarianWorden.com</cite> (2010-11-25)</a>. <q>I participated in a WeWontFly pamphlet distribution event at Newark Airport last night. It was organized by NJ Libertarian Party activists. Although everything went smoothly the terminal we were at was not very busy at the time of the event. TSA is engaged in a massive propaganda campaign to discredit...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2010-11-28.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://permakent.com/2010/11/24/jay-snelson-at-khctf-in-oc/">Jay Stuart Snelson in OC at KHCTF. PermaKent, <cite>PermaKent Permaculture Ideas of J. Kent Hastings</cite> (2010-11-24)</a>. <q>A NEW Orange County, CA Supperclub! THE Karl Hess Community Technology Forum A PROJECT OF THE RESILIENT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION The Resilient Community Foundation (“Rescomm.org”) is pleased to present Jay Stuart Snelson at the inaugural meeting of the Karl Hess Community Technology Forum. Mr. Snelson is a California native, UCLA graduate...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Monday 2010-11-29.)</em></p></li>