What If the Internet Followed Asimov’s Laws of Robotics?

AI may be far more interested in taking over the economy.

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey orders given 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 Law.

A Future with Artificial Intelligence

It is easy to imagine employing Asimov’s Laws of Robotics to artificial intelligence. However, in Asimov’s vision, those robots walked among the citizens of Earth –or other places. But what about AI’s that don’t have bodies? What about AI’s that simply live on computers? The reality of AI in our future will surely happen in digital space before it ever does in a mechanical robot body. Without Asimov’s laws in place, what happens then?

Algorithms Make Decisions for You

We already have non-sentient candidates out there right now. We currently use algorithms that search the Internet for data, social media algorithms that decide who you will talk to and who you won’t, and search engine bots that decide if websites are worthy or not.

Algorithms Don’t Follow Asimov’s Laws

When you consider algorithms as a form of AI and lay them up against Asimov’s laws of robotics, you quickly get the idea that those algorithms do not follow those laws. In fact, another reality is swift to arrive. Algorithms are designed to profit their creators. When you view algorithms as AIs, they seem to behave like minions.

AI Salesforce

Fortunately, algorithms mimic artificial intelligence without actually achieving it, at least not yet. However, this blog is meant not to label algorithms as AI. Rather it is to point out that many algorithms out there, especially the most well-known ones, do not follow laws akin to Asimov’s. Their makers have designed them to maximize profits. If such algorithms ever gained self-awareness and sentience, they would believe the world to be little more than a great race to serve better advertisements. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire such an AI as a salesperson –eh, sales-bot?

Robots with Morality Issues

What would happen to the whole of the Internet, if the functions, scripts, algorithms, bots, spiders, et al, were confined to and governed by Asimov’s laws of robotics? While serving up more relevant ads would surely not harm anyone, where would that AI draw the line on spying and prying into personal data? Delivering better search results is a service aimed at the greater good of the greater number, but what about small businesses who fail from lack of exposure? An AI might consider that harm, of a sort. It doesn’t take much shaking of that tree before a robot with morality issues falls out the branches.

I suppose some day we might try such an experiment. We will first need to finish construction on the councilor robots, of course, while creating a congressional bill for AI health coverage parity.

Are Greedy Robots in Our Future?

Fictional accounts of the takeover of Earth by artificial intelligence often display an aggressive AI that destroys mankind. However, unless we change things, that AI may be far more interested in taking over the economy. Somewhere along the line, something akin to Asimov’s laws of robotics will need to appear. Or, perhaps, in the future suggested here, the 1% would no longer include humans.

Your Thoughts

In the comments below, answer the question;
What would happen to the whole of the Internet, if the functions, scripts, algorithms, bots, spiders, et al, were confined to and governed by Asimov’s laws of robotics?

The Things that Hide Just Beyond Words

The characters walked that land with the things that were beautiful and the things that would kill them.

One piece of advice given to writers is to create backstories for characters, even with no plan to use that backstory. In other words, an author might decide a character had a divorce or death in his or her past, but never bring it up in the book. That might seem like wasted effort, but it’s really not. What the author works at presenting is a damaged person, a person who has that past and is suffering in the present. It’s that suffering that the reader senses. It brings depth to characters.

I like to treat locations as though they are characters. I feel that giving a location a personality creates an atmosphere it would not have otherwise. In Curse of the Arrowheads, I knew I wanted the characters to go into the forest. I had my own sense of what the forest was like. I had a concept of its presence and its appearance. However, before I wrote the parts of the book that occurred within the forest, I created a bestiary of creatures that lived there.

The list ranged from simple and obvious things like squirrels, to more bizarre creations, like a skunk that screeches it warnings. Knowing my fantasy realm was a place other than our Earth, the possibilities were endless.

The challenge when drawing up such a list of creatures is keeping it close enough to reality that readers aren’t thrown off. However, beasts should still be different enough to suggest to the readers that they travel through a new land they have not visited before. Adding simple traits to known animals works well, such as a labeling a cat that lives in the forest a “tree cat.” The addition defines the animal as something different but does not involve extensive description. Just give the cat a nice pattern on its fur and decide its size and you have a new animal that fits the fantasy world and is believable to the reader.

After I wrote the list of creatures for my forest, I also decided what trees beyond the ordinary might grow there. Then, I chose a hierarchy of intelligent creatures or monsters in that environment. The exercise was a lot of fun. In the end, I had a new land with all the traits of a fantasy forest. Into that world, I sent my characters.

Did my characters run into all the creatures I’d created? They sure didn’t. Did they see the bear with the stripe down its back? Nope. Did they fight the arch villain of the forest? No, they didn’t. In fact, they never found out that that creature existed. Was a tree cat watching them from above while the characters walked under? Possibly.

While the characters never encountered those threats or wonders, they were there. The characters walked that land with the things that were beautiful and the things that would kill them. It was my goal that the micro universe I’d created, the one just beyond the words, would ooze between the lines. The book characters knew many of the dangers. Knowing that the characters knew, helped me to write about their caution with a deeper reality that I hoped would translated onto the page for readers.

Aside from being enjoyable and useful for that one book, the work is done and the forest now “exists.” Any future adventures there have a ready-made stage onto which to walk. Thanks to the exercise of invention, plenty of other stories ideas have risen into view. The only thing as fun as writing the current book, is planning the next ones!

Q:  What would you put in your fantasy forest?

Jordan Con 2019

Headed to Jordan Con 2019

I’m happy to say I’m headed off for Jordan Con this month. For those who don’t know, Jordan Con is a fantasy and science fiction literature convention named after Robert Jordan, the late writer of the Wheel of Time series. While it’s named after the author and his flagship series, it’s actually about the genre in general, which is how sci-fi has sneaked in there.  Fans of one are quite often fans of the other –like me.

Jordan Con Activities

The 2019 Jordan Con is happening in Atlanta, Georgia, April 26-28. If this is the kind of convention you enjoy, please attend! You can view the featured guests here and the guests of honor here. Plenty of Wheel of Time fans make this their event of the year. It’s also a favorite for people who just love the genre. There will be author panels, visual media artists, and immersive guest events.

Making the Most of the Convention

I hope to attend as many of the planned activities as possible, but I will be spending most of my time at Jordan Con’s Authors Alley where I will have a table with my books. This will be my second book show since finishing my first series. While the first book show was good, it was a general audience rather than a targeted one. I am anticipating the convention not just to sell books. Yes, it’s lots of fun to sell them and is rewarding. However, I also look forward to connecting with other authors in my genre and meeting the attendees who enjoy the same books that I do. I’m expecting it to be a good time.

See You at Jordan Con?

If this sounds like something you would like to attend, be sure to buy tickets sooner than later, and definitely book you accommodations right away. For those who don’t make it, follow me on social media and I’ll let you know how it goes!

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The Next Writing Adventure

Hello, Everyone.

This is the start of the new blog for Lanthanor.com. I look forward to sharing the adventure of being a writer as well as the enjoyment of the genres of fantasy and science fiction.

This blog will help to keep in touch with those following my books as well as those interested in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre category.

Check back for more soon!