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I Robot

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I think that "I, Robot" was a movie that assumes too much. I haven't read Asimov's book, but my oppinion of the three laws is that they are a hogwash.

It assumes, for instance, that robots, such as those in the movie, are by default bloodthirsty murderers who like to "deduce" things that have never been programmed into them. For that reason, they need the three laws which would restrain them from their murderous nature.

Robots actually don't need such laws because they only do what they are programmed to do. If they are programmed to kill, they'll kill, period. If they are not programmed to kill, then they don't need to obey any laws whatsoever. For them to actually "obey" Isaac's first law of robotics, killing would have to be included in their original programming and then a restriction should be made which would prevent the robot from ever using that piece of code/data. That is utter nonsense.

So, if Asimov's original intention was to reduce the fear of the machines, like Free Capitalist says, then he would have shown them for what they truly are - tools. They do what they are made for. (In this respect, I think that even the Terminator (at least parts 1 & 2) were much better, because the Terminator was a sophisticated killing machine and it never strayed from that task.) They never overstep the boundaries of their programming, because such a thing is impossible. Using a robot that was programmed to be a housemaid as an assassin, is the same as using a mattock to kill someone - a misuse of the tool. And you can't make a mass murderer out of a robot just like you can't make a mass murderer out of a mattock - if a robot starts killing, then it is its owner's responsibility, and not a robot's caprice. Just like you can't blame a mattock for slaying a person, so you can't blame a robot.

Sure, some restrictions can be built into a robot, but you can't "explain" concepts such as injury, death, or murder to it. For that reason, you can only build in the restrictions for the concrete methods of murder. For example, don't pull the trigger on a gun if you are aiming it towards a person - in which case, you also have to explain to the robot what a trigger, a gun and a person are. Not to mention that a robot needs to first learn to aim - it is not a simple matter to program a robot to move its arm to aim, and then to move its index finger to pull the trigger. Killing someone takes a lot of programming which both Asimov and the directors of I, Robot take for granted.

It is precisely this taking things for granted which has created the whole phobia of conscious machines and whatnot. A robot running wild is analogous to the knives and spoons beginning to jump out of the drawers and darting towards your neck - it is utter nonsense. So, I was as impressed with the movie in much the same way as I was with some poltergiest horror, i.e. not at all.

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