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Put on a Happy Face by Nigel Roth

Dernière mise à jour : 3 mars 2021

In 1942, while the world was busy bombing itself to dust, three laws were emerging as the guiding principles for our new anthropological cousins, the next evolutionary arm of our expansive genus, robots.

These laws, set out succinctly by the American writer and biochemist, Isaac Asimov, are wonderfully-clear and sensible, and are, without doubt, the rules by which humanoids will develop.

Like many laws that exist in our society, they were crafted with an end goal in sight, one which sets limits and boundaries that benefit all of humanity, and it’s offspring.

For example, in the British Isles, the Salmon Act of 1986 stipulates that it is an offence to handle salmon under suspicious circumstances, and as yet, no one has made that faux-pas and been charged or convicted of suspicious salmon-handling. So, we can safely say, the law works, even in this time of lockdown, where wandering around the streets is fishy anyway.

Similarly, the Chicken Laws, observed faultlessly in the progressive state of Georgia, in the southeastern US, are examples of good law-abidance. In Gainesville, for example, the law states that you have to eat fried chicken with your bare hands, and everyone does, and in Quitman, it is illegal to allow your chickens to cross the road, because they could endanger themselves, or others, in the process.

And there is similar thought in the first Robot Law. It states that a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Perfectly sane and useful, particularly to us.

As was the Australian Electricity Safety Act prohibiting Australians in the great state of Victoria from changing a lightbulb without a license, because of the perceived danger involved. How many Victorians does it take to change a lightbulb? None, apparently. And many poor souls may have sat out this pandemic year in total darkness because they didn’t realize that the law was revised in 1998, to allow lightbulb-changing to be carried out with care by a relative you don’t much like.