Three Laws

There are various sets of Three Laws promulgated by SF writers. Why Three? It's a good round number, and if it's good enough for the Ramans, it's good enough for us.

Arthur C Clarke's Three Laws

With corollaries!

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Isaac Asimov's 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 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.

Asimov claimed these had been invented by John W Campbell?, but Campbell claimed he had got them from Asimov. Obviously mind-adjusting robots from the future planted the notion in his head.

There is also a 'zeroth law', which is added by some particularly advanced robots:

Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Futurics

  1. What is happening will continue to happen
  2. Consider the obvious seriously
  3. Consider the consequences

Sat, 29 Nov 2003 22:21:50 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day