Thursday, March 27, 2008

Isaac Asimov Robotic Rules

One of the Kings of Science Fiction Isaac Asimov wrote three laws pertaining to robots.
The three laws are:

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 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 Law.

As a writer of science fiction you have to be willing to build on the inventions and the universal laws written by other people.

For instance, if I am writing about a device that takes a person apart at the molecular level and then reassembles them at a different location I could go thru that description over and over again ad nauseum or I could use the term coined in the Star Trek series -- transporter.

So as I am wandering around the Internet looking for something to blog about, I found a beginning of a thought about Asimov's Robotic Laws pertaining to every day items.

Asimov Laws of Robotics Applied to Materials

As Isaac Asimov famous laws of Robotics prevent robots from harming humans, imagine some examples of intelligent stuff like:

* spill-proof coffee: don't worry about your lovely white suede couch, if you spill intelligent coffee on it, the coffee will never reach the suede, its intelligent nano molecules will sense the imminent fall and quickly solidify midair, so you can put it back in your microwave oven to liquefy again.
* intelligent bullets will recognize VIP people and disintegrate before hitting them. This bullet-proof condition may be made reversed, like you are not more the President, so now bullets can hit you

These are copied as they were written.

Taking it a bit further:

  1. The wrapper of the hamburger you just bought has nanobots embedded in it and determines that you are too heavy, or that you have had your full allotment of fat, meat, cheese and carbs for the day. As you go to take a bit, the wrapper disintegrates the hamburger and recommends you purchase a salad.
  2. Your chair has nanobots and determines that you have been sitting too long for good health. It dumps you gently on the floor then chases you around the room until it determines your heart rate is up to an appropriate healthy cardiac rate.
  3. You go to the library and are about to check out a book. The nanobots of your library card read your current state of mind and determine that the book you have chosen is not appropriate at this time. You are lonely so you need to read a romance. Your brain synapses are not firing quickly enough so you need to read a science journal. You are angry at so you need to read a pleasant comforting story. etc.

Maybe we should simply leave the nanobots and the robotic laws in the science fiction genre.

Charlene Leatherman,

Prophecy of Vithan - adventurous romance with a science fiction background. Available at

1 comment:

Anita Birt said...

What a great blog and a tribute to a fascinating man. Loved the last bits, they made me smile. And that reminds me, I have been sitting too long! Bye for now.