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View Full Version : Is there a fourth Rule of Robotics?


thwartme
07-12-2004, 01:54 PM
So Asimov's three rules of robotics are pretty well known... but a friend of mine swears that a fourth rule was added some time later. I'd never heard of this before, and so now we've got a fiver riding on it.

Did Isaac Asimov add a fourth Rule of Robotics in any of his later works? Did a fourth rule get added by one of the writers that took up writing stories set in the Asimov universe?

Any help?

Thanks,
thwartme

acaos
07-12-2004, 02:03 PM
A fourth Law of Robotics was added later, but it does not apply to all robots (not all robots could judge the law), and it actually supersedes the other Laws:

Zeroth Law:
A robot shall not injure humanity, nor through inaction allow humanity to
come to harm.

chrisk
07-12-2004, 02:11 PM
Harry Harrison wrote a story based on asimovian robots entitled "the fourth rule of robotics", and his rule was definitely fourth in the sequence, rather than before all the others (a la the zeroth law.)

The rule was as follows: "A robot must reproduce its kind, as long as this does not conflict with the first, second, or third laws."

(Written with Harry's customary tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, of course.)

The collection is "Foundation's friends." Amazon entry (not for direct sale) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312931743/qid=1089659322/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-2525077-5177428?v=glance&s=books) I definitely reccomend it, especially for 'strip runner' set on elijah baley's earth, a few good foundation offerings, and a black widowers dinner.

sciguy
07-12-2004, 02:19 PM
Did Isaac Asimov add a fourth Rule of Robotics in any of his later works? Did a fourth rule get added by one of the writers that took up writing stories set in the Asimov universe? Asimov added the zeroth law in "Robots and Emprie" IIRC. I'm pretty sure it was stated by R. Daneel while talking to Giskard (another robot) after Giskard broke the 1st law in order to help humanity as a whole. I think the situation was where they set up some radioactive overdrive in the crust to make Earth uninhabitable, sending the population out into space.

It's been a while since I read that, so some details may be mis-remembered.

Saltire
07-12-2004, 02:22 PM
To add to acaos' excellent answer, the Zeroth Law was discovered by R. Daneel Olivaw in Asimov's novel Robots and Empire. I say discovered rather than invented because Daneel realized that he and his friend R. Giskard Revenlov had been acting under this law for a while durimg their extensive involvement in the development of Earth's non-Spacer colonies.

Please, if you have any interest in Asimov's robots, read The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, Robots of Dawn, and Robots and Empire. Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel are probably Asimov's best-realized characters (third place would, I believe, go to Susan Calvin).

thwartme
07-12-2004, 02:26 PM
So there was a zeroth, actually added by the man himself, and a fourth, added by the guy known for such intelligent Sci-Fi as "Bill The Galactic Hero."

Thanks folks!

thwartme

chrisk
07-12-2004, 02:32 PM
So there was a zeroth, actually added by the man himself, and a fourth, added by the guy known for such intelligent Sci-Fi as "Bill The Galactic Hero."

Thanks folks!

thwartme

Hmmm... had actually never heard of 'BtGO' before... was "intelligent Sci-Fi" meant as sarcasm or not? The feedback opinions of it on amazon ranged from 'silly' to 'brilliantly satirical'.


I know of Harrison, myself, primarily for the stainless steel rat stories, (which definitely fall under 'brilliantly satirical' in my opinion,) and the "to the stars" trilogy which was very insightful and, yes, intelligent. :)

sturmhauke
07-12-2004, 02:46 PM
In the end, Giskard was unable to reconcile what he had just done with his original programming, and he shut down permanently. Daneel was able to adapt and left Earth.

Bryan Ekers
07-12-2004, 02:47 PM
Don't arrest OCP executives?

thwartme
07-12-2004, 02:59 PM
chrisk

I think I'd describe the series as a spoof. Funny stuff, but the joke wears thin after a while.

thwartme

AncientHumanoid
07-12-2004, 03:44 PM
Fifth Law: A robot must not make, or through inaction allow to be made any movies about robots based on the classic robot stories with Will Smith as the major human character in a Summer blockbuster action/adventure format as long as the first 5 laws are not violated, except that the killing people who screw with stories we all love is perfectly acceptable.

Voyager
07-12-2004, 04:01 PM
Fifth Law: A robot must not make, or through inaction allow to be made any movies about robots based on the classic robot stories with Will Smith as the major human character in a Summer blockbuster action/adventure format as long as the first 5 laws are not violated, except that the killing people who screw with stories we all love is perfectly acceptable.

Especially when you reject a good script by Harlan which actually followed the book.

Bill, the Galactic Hero is much funnier if you grew up on Doc Smith stories.

tanstaafl
07-12-2004, 04:16 PM
Bill, the Galactic Hero is much funnier if you grew up on Doc Smith stories.
Nah, in that case you want Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers.

blowero
07-12-2004, 04:25 PM
The fourth law, also known as Bender's Law:

4. Kill all the humans.

Rufus Xavier
07-12-2004, 05:25 PM
Fourth Rule of Robotics is: don't talk about robotics.

Fifth Rule of Robotics is: if you're playing Civ II, research robotics as soon as possible.

Mr. Blue Sky
07-12-2004, 05:48 PM
The fourth law, also known as Bender's Law:

4. Kill all the humans.

"I had a great dream and you were in it." (or thereabouts)

Bryan Ekers
07-12-2004, 06:13 PM
Reminds me of one of my favourite Futurama bits:

Bender: [addressing a large crown of human-hating robots] Some said I was too extreme when I called for the extermination of the human race, as well as some of the more cunning monkeys...

AncientHumanoid
07-12-2004, 06:24 PM
Frye (after watching Bender down a drink at a bar): Why does a robot need to drink!

Bender (angry and very much in his face): Look, buddy! I don't need to drink! I can quit anytime I want.

Hunter Hawk
07-12-2004, 11:48 PM
Hmmm... had actually never heard of 'BtGO' before... was "intelligent Sci-Fi" meant as sarcasm or not? The feedback opinions of it on amazon ranged from 'silly' to 'brilliantly satirical'.
The original novel Bill the Galactic Hero was both silly and brilliantly satirical; you should read it after having first read the standard canonical military SF stories. A number of additional Bill novels were written significantly later; they'd be okay beach reading, but in all honesty you can safely skip them.