Created By: fulltimeD on January 15, 2013 Last Edited By: fulltimeD on January 17, 2013

Ethical Subroutines

The programming that makes AI not want to Kill All Humans

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Do We Have This One??

This is the programming that makes various types of Artificially Intelligent characters behave according to ethical parameters amenable to cohabitation with organic sentients. Whether it's a "Morality Chip," Ethical Subroutines, or the Three Laws of Robotics, it's a device or program that makes the AI character "friendly" to humans, even if the character is an emotionless android or other computer.

Subtrope of Restraining Bolt.

Examples

Literature
  • Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

Live-Action Television
  • Star Trek
    • Ethical subroutines are part of Data's programming.
    • They are also part of the Doctor's and other EMH's on Star Trek: Voyager. Villains frequently disable the Doctor's ethical subroutines which basically makes the EMH go psycho. Equinox's EMH was similarly ethically disabled by his own crew so that he would assist in experimenting on the nucleogenic beings whose remains they were using to power their warp drive.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • January 15, 2013
    Earnest
    See also Crush Kill Destroy. Compare Morality Dial.
  • January 15, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • EDI in Mass Effect 2 is governed by both these and a Restraining Bolt. Joker is forced to remove the latter when the Collectors board the Normandy, but her ethics remain intact.
  • January 15, 2013
    Xtifr
  • January 15, 2013
    fulltimeD
    ^ I wouldn't say that covers this trope in its entirety
  • January 15, 2013
    fulltimeD
    it's more like a Missing Supertrope
  • January 15, 2013
    Astaroth
    • Portal: GLaDOS is fitted with a morality core that prevents her from flooding the enrichment centre with deadly neurotoxin.

    Edit: We already have Morality Chip; does that have this covered?
  • January 15, 2013
    zarpaulus
    • Freefall: Florence once worried that her choice to remain ethical after finding planet-sized loopholes in her safeguards was just a second line of defense. But given how much the robots who turned out to be using the same neural net design as her vary, including the outright sociopathic Edge, it seems unlikely.
  • January 15, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    The title character from Pixar's Wall E from 2008 is a trash-compacting robot that hasn't seen a human being in seven hundred years. Nonetheless, when Wall E encounters them aboard the Axiom, he's patient, gracious and helpful, to the point of shaking hands with two people. Wall E's civil demeanor even spreads to the other robots.
  • January 15, 2013
    chicagomel
    The Chee in Animorphs might count, but I'm not sure. Their thing is that their programming prevents them from battling or fighting in any way.
  • January 17, 2013
    fulltimeD
    @Astaroth: Yeah, it looks like Morality Chip covers this. I'll plan on discarding this ykttw if there are no objections
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=31opv44bjmgg3xmwzjx80bfe