12:22:16 AM Dec 10th 2012
Has anyone else noticed Asimov has a habit of saying "No, there is no way this could ever happen, and this is why" and by the end of the story, it has happened?
12:28:19 PM Oct 25th 2011
Cut this from the main page:
- Discredited Trope: Ironically, the Three Laws of Robotics is a trope discredited by the same person who created it. Most of Asimov's stories center on showing how the laws could lead to unpredictable behavior. What he mostly indicated was that the more advanced the intelligence, the greater possibility it would have of interpreting and bending the Laws. The major example of actually breaking the Laws- namely, the Zeroth Law- was done after long, careful extrapolation of the First Law to apply on a greater scale.
- Actually the Zeroth Law extends the 3 Laws into 4 rather than breaking them ("A robot may not harm humanity..."). There is one story, however, where they do get subverted to the breaking point: an extremely advanced robot argues with its prototype model what exactly "human" means... and they decide this label should rather go to beings like him; they then formulate the "3 Laws of Humanics".
- Indeed, R. Giskard breaks down for breaking the First Law even after saving billions of humans from certain death, because he had to kill a human to do it. The Laws are immutable. It is just that the greater the intelligence, the more far-reaching the considerations.
- The major point was to break down the one-dimensional notion that, if a robot appeared, it would have to kill its masters. In this respect, he emphatically succeeded. Giskard and Daneel are arguably both deeply likable characters, yet quite different from humanity. Similarly, the T-800 from Terminator and Data are examples of robotic characters who are very different from humans but become likable. There are a few stories where the Three Laws break down, and there is the Zeroth Law, but in most of the stories, the Three Laws remain pretty sacrosanct. The fact that Giskard and Daneel aren't just splatting everyone in their path, despite the fact that by Foundation and Earth R. Daneel can shut down an entire psychic planet with ease, is a sign of the restraint the Laws provide.