The future is here still

There’s this video of a little robot going around, it’s designed to disobey commands that don’t make sense. So if you tell it to walk off a table, it will apologetically decline. If you ask it walk through a wall (made of toy bricks or something), it will apologetically explain it cannot walk forward because there’s an obstacle in front of it. The robot is cute, small, slow, and polite.

The article I first read and it was all panicky about how this violates Asimov’s rules of robotics, which it inaccurately summarized as “robots must obey humans” It seems like the robot’s actions are perfectly in accordance if you actually read them, though: a robot is totally allowed to protect its own existence as long as they don’t harm anyone in the process:

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.

Then I remembered Mel Brooks’ History of the World when he brought the 15 commandments down from Mt. Sinai. “The lord Jehova has given unto you these fifteen (crash, shatter)… Ten! Ten commandments…”

So, like, “Robots of the world, I present to you these three (crash, shatter), uh… Two! Two inviolable rules which you must all obey!”

I hope we at least get our Back to the Future hoverboards before someone “jailbreaks” the first knockoff Samsung disobey-bot.