Why AI won’t work. Probably.

Not all scifi writers AI’s are malevolent. Mine most certainly aren’t!!!

Matthew Wright

One of the main tropes of science fiction has to be the self-aware robot or computer – one mobile, the other not, but both presented as self-aware and able to think as we do, although often better.

I think, therefore I am a slide rule.

Often, Frankenstein-style, the AI develops malevolence. That was a trope long before HAL; virtually all of Asimov’s robot stories from the 1940s onwards were designed to counter the notion of the AI turning on its creators. Asimov’s answer – which, apparently, was proposed to him by John W. Campbell – were the ‘laws of robotics’ in which machines simply couldn’t harm humans.

Inevitably, these laws didn’t work, and Asimov knew it; a lot of his stories involved finding ways that the laws failed. He spelled out the main point of failure in one of the final robot novels: all the builder had to do was…

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