Of Humans and Machines

A few months back I was reading the Robots series of Isaac Asimov. I was fascinated by the concept of those planets which had few humans and more robots. The robots were there to take care of the humans and people didn’t like to interact with each other much – specially on the planet Solaria. And all robots were governed by 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 Laws.

Had to state them because they seem to be so flawless – however the robots became intelligent enough to make a fourth or the zeroth one. Now since Asimov was writing the book so the law reads:
” A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm!

If a robot was writing the story, probably he would have made a different law :-).

                             In those stories, Asimov also depicted how the people on those planets found people on Earth to be inferior and backward. All that seemed to me analogous to the present world itself – with those planets being the developed nations and earth being similar to the under-developed or developing nations. Robots of the future could be analogous to the gadgets of present day – which in developed nations are commonly available to everyone while to only a select few in the developing countries.
                                  As I was musing, I felt that probably humans would be like that even thousands of years from now, if the species is not extinct.  Ones with advanced technologies would look down upon those without, and being more attached to fellow human beings would be a sign of backwardness! You can see that in the present world itself – where do you find the concept of families and relations being more important – the developed or the developing economies?
             In case you are wondering why am I writing all this today, these thoughts were in a draft mode on this blog since a long time and needed to be set to published. The trigger was just this advertisement that I saw a few minutes back – “Every child should have a computer to make this a better world”. I wonder if that’s the pre-cursor of  – “Every person should have a robot to take care of him/her!”.

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