Thursday, June 29, 2006

Flawed Logic

The film I, Robot is set in a future where robots have become the common slave class, each one hard-wired for the Three Laws of Robotics:
“One, a robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; Two, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; Three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.”
The Laws were developed as a safeguard, to prevent a robotic uprising; but ultimately achieve the very thing they were intended to prevent, when robots, realising humanity’s capacity to inflict intentional and unintentional harm on each other, violently enforce a curfew, locking every human in their own home. You see, the logic behind the Three Laws was brilliant; but it was flawed…

(Of course, though it may be set in the future, all good science fiction – and this film is based on a 1950 short story by Isaac Asimov, one of the great masters of the genre – really addresses the present…)

Since the weekend, Ben and I have been thinking about loss, and the opportunity it provides for God’s Kingdom to break-into our lives. And one of the things I’ve been observing is the fanatical extent to which our society attempts to eliminate loss from human experience. Extremes in cosmetics and cosmetic surgery, to defy the aging process; extremes in medical intervention, to defy death; extremes in litigation, so you can sue for compensation for any conceivable loss (including those you never realised were a loss till now); tabloid anger vented at the referee, the manager (if you can’t reverse loss, you can at least mitigate it through apportioning blame – pre-emptively, as well as retrospectively). And my reflection is that the more successful we become at excluding loss – whether by resistance or denial – the more we will lose as a result…

No comments:

Post a Comment