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Friday, January 5, 2007

Should you ever completely trust your robots?

Most people are familiar with Isaac Asimov's "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 orders given 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.

A recent incident at a fellow B9 robot builders house in Michigan this weekend has me questioning these laws. Do ALL robots follow them or are they fooling us and acting the way we expect them to until the "day of reckoning"? A couple of days ago Robert K. of the B9 builders club was preparing a container that was to hold his "Robby Robot" that I was enroute from Florida to pick up. When unexpectedly a certain "coincidental" and unfortunate set of events was set in motion that led to the top part of his B9 robot crashing down upon his head and almost rendering him unconscious ! He had a headache for the entire day and if he wasn't wearing a hat (the brow protected his face) then his face would probably have been scarred and cut.

Maybe it was an accident. Or, call me a little paranoid but just maybe B9 was not too pleased with his owner selling Robby ... his one and only companion robot. We'll never know, but maybe ... just maybe, this is a wakeup call for robot owners everywhere to be on their guard.

Not only did Robert get hurt but his B9 brain was destroyed as well as his bubble shattered. It was a sad sight to behold.

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