Sci-Fi Scenario

Theme: Imagine a society which has become so advanced that robots become the integral part of humans and if something undesirable happens then would it result in some catastrophe or is there any possible way out.

Imagine a situation where the human race got technical advanced so as to create generic robots that serve all needs of humans, with the number of such robots eclipsing human population. The robots are programmed with three laws of robotics by Issac Asimov as

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

(The first law is flawed as that law will also lead to robots banning alcohols, tobacco, adventurous activities/sports etc. and start acting as police but ignore that as of now. Also, ignore another limitation of this law where it has to choose between harm with action (sacrificing a person to save others) and greater harm with inaction (allow people to die without itself sacrificing anyone).)

Like in every story let say there is this villain named Dusht who is a smart computer engineer and he creates a malware, which overwrites the program of the robot, for taking over the army of robots, who could serve his interests. The new set of laws in the new program are:

  • A robot must follow orders given by Dusht irrespective of the circumstances and consequences and ensure safety of Dusht, including killing of master’s enemies
  • A robot must protect its own existence and resist resetting to the extent of killing the re-setters and self destruct before it could be reset when it couldn’t avoid resetting, as long as such protection, resistance and self destruction from resetting does not conflict with the First Law
  • A robot must reprogram other robots with the new rules or otherwise destroy those robots, except where such orders would conflict with the First or Second Law
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First or Second or Third Law

Nobody notices this change in the beginning as due to their small numbers, there are rare cases which pose such situations. When the modified robots start increasing in numbers then the cases start coming but those are seen with skepticism because one there is genuine doubt if that could happen as people assume that something else might have happened where the person was killed by mistake in the process of being saved. The second reason of dismissing is that there is no way to recognize the original robot from the modified robot. So it continues for some time and then it reaches the point where large number of robots have been modified and numerous cases are been studied with few of such robots captured and the computer engineers figured out the new rules and also found some unique marks that could identify the infected robots. Other cases also start surfacing where robots start murdering humans and destroying other non-infected robots who opposes Dusht and those who tries to act against their master, as per first Law.

Progress 1: Dusht has taken over certain cities and declare them as a separate country with all robots there working based on new set of rules. He also brought a constitution where he declare himself as the head of the state and like any other dictator, he introduce the retrograde constitution which has no regard for people rights and freedoms like freedom of thought, women rights, child rights, animal rights, legalizing slavery etc. It has certain actions being mandatory like Anthem where he is glorified and some other being prohibited like criticism of him or his actions or the constitution with the punishment being death. He introduce one more Law and inserted it between Third and Fourth Law and the earlier Fourth Law becomes the Fifth Law:

  • A robot must enforce the constitution by taking help of other robots except where such orders would conflict with the First or Second or Third Law

As a side effect of of this new law, some parts of the world where the infected robots are high in number also starts operating as per the new constitution.

Progress 2: Everyone dies including wise, powerful, rich etc. (ਸਭ ਦੁਨੀ ਆਵਣ ਜਾਵਣੀ ਮੁਕਾਮੁ ਏਕੁ ਰਹੀਮੁ) so Dusht has also died and fortunately or unfortunately, he has left  no successor. So, the first Law is redundant now but robots are still working as per other Laws and the new constitution is spreading fast throughout the world.

So our little fiction scenario ends here and the questions arises that how could humans stop the modification to spread to all robots, reset modified robots and ultimately avoid getting all human beings subservient to new Constitution where no-one enjoys freedom and liberty? Could you save the humankind from slavery with your master plan?

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2 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Scenario

    • I don’t think they had the same problem. As I mentioned above, “They had also developed a way to reset the robot but as the resetting was viewed as conflict to second Law, so the infected robots resisted such efforts and when they outnumbered the humans in such endeavors then they murdered them too.”, the problem is not with the counter anti-virus program but with the way to run it on the infected robots.
      Also, healing the robots is always better than shutting them down. Here, robots are just enabling the wrong person and the same robots could also enable the right person. Robots are just tools and are slave to their human master and could be used or misused like nuclear energy, technology etc.

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