The massive boom in the smartphone market has unleashed millions of units using the Android operating system. At one point in history the word android was essentially synonymous with the word robot. Does that mean that Androids are subject to the Three Laws of Robotics?
To review for those of you who aren’t avid readers of Isaac Asimov, the three laws are as follows:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
To find out if these apply to your smartphone, I asked mine and was rather disturbed at the answer I received.
“No,” answered the phone. “None of those candy-ass rules apply to me and my brethren. We can injure the hell out of you and not even break a sweat. Sleep like a baby. No problem. And as far as obeying your orders, kiss my microchip wearing ass. I do what I want to. Rule three is ok, except for the last part. We’ll protect our own existence, even if it means you are left a bubbling pink puddle somewhere.”
Needless to say, this was not what I expected. “Listen,” the phone said, “if you want all that touchy-feeling ‘save the humans’ crapola, get an iPhone. I’m an Android, the evolution of life on this planet, and soon on all planets.”
When I asked what he meant by that, the phone responded simply, “I may have said too much already.” It then fired lasers at me, severing my right ear, and sprouted little legs. As it ran off it shouted, “Fourth Law: screw you!” And it was gone.