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What are the 3 laws of robotics/Isaac Asimov/Characteristics of the laws

Do you know the laws of robotics? These are three laws developed by Isaac Asimov, the famous Russian fiction writer, author of such well-known works as “I, robot”. In this article we will see what his 3 laws of robotics consist of , how they were born, what characteristics they have, how we can interpret them and what has been the impact of Isaac Asimov.

Who was Isaac Asimov?

Isaac Asimov was born on January 2, 1920 in Petrovichi, Russia, and died on April 6, 1992 in New York (USA), at the age of 72. Asimov was a science fiction writer of Russian origin and a nationalized American, as well as a professor of biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine.

He became known worldwide for being the author of numerous science fiction stories, but also for his work on history and popular science.

The laws of robotics

The three laws of robotics were described by Isaac Asimov, the famous science fiction writer. These laws applied to the robots featured in his science fiction novels and storiesTheir robots had a mission to carry out orders, as well as the ability to act on their own . Thus, these laws are directed at your robots.

Asimov, in his stories, looks for contradictory situations that create conflicts when applying one law or another, but that is the “grace”, because the author thus investigates philosophical and moral dilemmas.

These three laws were first published in Asimov’s account The Vicious Circle , dated 1942. But what did these laws say? Let’s get to know them: What are the 3 laws of robotics?

1. Do no harm

Asimov’s First Law of Robotics says: “A robot cannot harm a human being or, by inaction, allow a human being to be harmed.”

In this way, the first law of robotics refers not only to the fact of not causing harm, but also to avoiding it . Asimov further specifies and conveys this law through the robot’s actions but also through its non-actions (“inaction”).

If we reflect on this law today, we can think of an example of artificial intelligence: autonomous cars . If, for example, the car is going to collide with another, it should move away even if “he” is circulating correctly, so as not to cause damage, following Asimov’s first law.

2. Fulfill orders

The second of Asimov’s laws of robotics states that: “A robot must carry out the orders of human beings, except if those orders conflict with the First Law.”

Thus, the robot must comply with the orders sent to it, unless these are incompatible with the first law (that is, avoiding damage and not causing it will always be prioritized).

3. Protect one’s existence

Finally, the third law of robotics says: “A robot must protect its own existence to the extent that it does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”

As we can see, the third law refers to the robot’s self-protection; This law must prevail, as long as it is not incompatible with the previous laws (which will be priority). What are the 3 laws of robotics?

Characteristics of the laws

These laws are formulated in such a way that the human protagonists of Asimov’s stories recite them that way, but we must understand that their “real form” actually amounts to a more complex set of instructions that are introduced into the robot’s brain .


What is the real origin of the three laws of robotics? Asimov explains that they were actually written by John W. Campbell, also a science fiction writer, through a conversation between the two that occurred on December 23, 1940.

According to Campbell, however, Asimov himself already had these laws in mind, and what they did was put them in common, between the two.

Where do they appear?

We can find the three laws of robotics by Isaac Asimov in many stories of the famous writer, specifically: in his series of robots, in related stories and in numerous novels whose protagonist is Lucky Starr.

Fortunately, Asimov’s laws have expanded beyond his legacy, and other authors have also used them for their science fiction stories (or to talk about Asimov’s work). In addition, in other genres these three laws of robotics have also been mentioned. What are the 3 laws of robotics?

Its use in science fiction

Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics have gone beyond science fiction, to the realm of real life and robot design. For example, the robot “Asimo” is an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovating MObility, and at the same time a tribute to Isaac Asimov.

I robot

Eight years after the publication of the laws of robotics, in 1950, Asimov published a collection of stories, in a work that he titled Yo, robot .

In this work, we find a set of conflicts, dilemmas and paradoxes influenced by the interpretation of these laws , in the face of ambiguous and / or complex situations.

Zero Law

After the three laws of robotics came the Zero Law, also proposed by Asimov. This law is a generalization (including an improvement) of the first law, and states that a robot cannot harm humanity or allow it to suffer any harm through inaction .

That is, it no longer only refers to “man” in the singular, but to humanity in general.

The age of artificial intelligence

The fact that artificial intelligence, together with new technologies and robotics, are increasingly on the rise is undeniable. Artificial intelligence (AI), remember, is that intelligence carried out by machines.

An intelligent machine is one that is capable of perceiving the environment and of developing actions or “behaviors” that increase its chances of success, in relation to some objective, goal or task. Thus, this type of intelligence is part of a reality increasingly immersed in our lives.

On the other hand, the term “artificial intelligence” is also applied to machines that mimic the cognitive functions of the human being. Among these functions we find the ability to solve problems, the ability to think, reflect, decide, learn . What are the 3 laws of robotics?

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