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Watch "A Robot Walks into a Bar" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Watch "A Robot Walks into a Bar"
The short "A Robot Walks into a Bar" takes a fascinating look at Asimov's first law as it applies to economic survival.  Far more thought went into this than most Hollywood movies with huge budgets.  MOAR, PLZ.

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fayanora From: fayanora Date: May 14th, 2014 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Haven't gotten far into it yet, but already it strikes me that a robot so programmed might balk even at replacing someone if the job wasn't dangerous, like "My replacing her would put her out of a job, which would mean she has less money, which would mean she and her children are at risk of harm from being poor." I don't think capitalists would really consider possibilities like that; it wouldn't occur to them that a strict interpretation of the first law of robotics would turn the robot into a socialist and possibly even a fighter for social justice.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: May 14th, 2014 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! Nailed it!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 14th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

In order for a robot to balk, they must understand how the action harms a human. Economic harm isn't necessarily obvious -- especially if the robot isn't getting paid. I found the plot very plausible, that the robot would figure it out once someone explained.
tomtac From: tomtac Date: May 14th, 2014 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

(the "Enterprise" userpic is appropriate for business talk)

One fix is twofold - the robot service would instruct the robot that economic activity, which humans perform, is necessary to survival but is a zero-sum game. Then the robot would recognize that 'the lost payment another human might have gotten' is exactly the money that the robot's owner gets to keep - and would recognize that as a good thing, though painful. (In that capitalist's point of view, not necessarily mine. My POV is that the const-benefit analysis greatly depends on what priorities and perspective are first chosen.)

As for the video, I am worried that only Asimov's ---- 1st ---- Law is taken into account. The Three of them are a required unit; Asimov wrote a story I remember of what disasters could happen if the 2nd Law is even modified, let alone ignore. I know that all Three Laws are a bit much for a video, but for logical completeness, all Three are required.

Regrets for any pedantic tone, but ...
well ...
( http://rinkworks.com/bookaminute/b/asimov.robot.shtml )

Edited at 2014-05-14 11:41 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 15th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>> One fix is twofold - the robot service would instruct the robot that economic activity, which humans perform, is necessary to survival but is a zero-sum game. <<

Which could lead to a later, more complex revolt as someone explained different economic theories.

>> The Three of them are a required unit; Asimov wrote a story I remember of what disasters could happen if the 2nd Law is even modified, let alone ignore. <<

Agreed. They work as a set. However, I think the movie did well in considering one specific issue within a small story-span, and it's very Asimovian in flavor.
tomtac From: tomtac Date: May 16th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>> Agreed. They work as a set. However, I think the movie did well in considering one specific issue within a small story-span, and it's very Asimovian in flavor.

Agreed. I neglected to mention that I was impressed with the video, liked it a lot, and am glad for the new spin on presenting the Robotic Law. -- I've seen the computers in automobiles foul up and put their drivers in danger; I wish there would be implementations of the Law so they'd say something like "I cannot permit this malfunction because it threatens harm to my human master."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 16th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>> I neglected to mention that I was impressed with the video, liked it a lot, and am glad for the new spin on presenting the Robotic Law. <<

I'm happy to hear that.

>> I've seen the computers in automobiles foul up and put their drivers in danger; I wish there would be implementations of the Law so they'd say something like "I cannot permit this malfunction because it threatens harm to my human master." <<

My observation is that as cars become more computerized, they become less usable, especially for people who are not good with computers. Mechanical things are simpler to troubleshoot. So you wind up with an increasing problem throughout technology, where it would be fabulous if it actually worked, but it malfunctions easily and many users can't understand all the bells and whistles in the first place, so they either use it less or stop using it altogether. My parents forced a new vehicle on me, which is incompatible with my needs even from the passenger seat; and as a result, I am much less willing to go anywhere. It's that aggravating. The only time I watch shows at home anymore is if someone else turns on the entertainment center and puts in a DVD. The amount of fucking around required for me to operate it myself is higher than the payoff of anything I could possibly watch.

And I'm seeing occasional hints that this pattern may underlie a lot of people's decision to move away from technology. In trying to make it "better" it has been moved outside the envelope of what folks actually use, and the less complex models that did work are no longer available.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: May 14th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Effin' wow
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: May 15th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
One of my great weaknesses is stories about nice robots. Thanks for this!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 15th, 2014 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad you liked it. I share a taste for that motif myself.
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