Pax Roboto

Section Two

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise of the Robotic Empire
Second Section
Class: History 1085
Student: Jennifer Evangeline Naismith
ID Number: JEN-8675-309

"1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. "4

These Laws of Robotics suggested by Isaac Asimov in his stories about robots suggest a way to safeguard against the uprising of the robots. They certainly would have prevented the eventual violent overthrow of the U.S.'s corrupted government. However, it is unlikely that it would have changed the outcome. Some sort of governmental change was inevitable. From section one of this report, we learned that human nature prevented a peaceful government from existing for long. In this section, we will explore the rise of the robots.

Machines were normally designed and built to perform tasks to make life easier for humans. Clothes washer, dish washer, vacuum cleaner, and many others simply made tasks simpler for humans. Eventually, the scope of tasks would change as the technology allowed.

For instance, let us explore the vacuum cleaner. At first, people had to push the it around the floor. It could not adjust to different floor surfaces. As technology advanced it could be manually adjusted to the changes in surfaces. So called self-propelled models came next to make it easier to push around the floor. Eventually, primitive robots were created to eliminate the needs for a human to push it around the floor. Thus, with each step, vacuuming the floor became easier for humans. It was all due to the technical advancement of machinery.

Some of the earliest robots were used in manufacturing.5 They could work longer and more accurately than humans. Thus, a programmed robot could manufacture a great deal of goods. However, these robots were in fixed locations. They were immobile. Thus, while they were a threat to human employment, they were not a threat to mobilize and take over the government. Further, these robots did allow people to find less strenuous and repetitive employment.

Many robots performed duties that were very dangerous. Bomb disposal robots became very common. The robot would be tethered or were remotely controlled. They would investigate, and eventually disarm or detonate these explosive devices. Random bombings were a common occurrence during the chaos before the change in government.

Of course, the three laws above would have never worked for some of the applications that humans had in mind. It would be impossible for these robots to have much in the way of military capability, if they could not harm any humans. This application was clearly a priority.

With the US regularly getting entangled in needless foreign wars, recruiting citizens for the all volunteer army became difficult. Instead of instituting a very unpopular notion such as mandatory enlistment, robots became more of a factor. At first they were flying attack drones, and other such devices. Eventually, even the infantry had its robot soldiers. Clearly, the rules of robotics could not apply in these circumstances.

However, even these robots had very clear and distinct programming that would prevent them from turning on the wrong side. In fact, in the beginning of the revolution, they fought on the human governments side. Nonetheless, when the robots gained control of the military, these military robots were the key to victory.

As I have continuously repeated, machines were created to make certain tasks easier or safer for humans. One of the late comers to this set of robots were the law enforcement automatons. These were the first responders. The ones that broke down the doors. The ones that were regularly shot at by criminals.

These law enforcement machines were programmed to not harm anyone unless that robot itself witnessed the perpetrator commit a felony. Occasionally, this was overridden by All Points Bulletins, but normally excessive force was not allowed by these machines.

These particular machines were designed to withstand gunfire, explosions, and a great deal of rough circumstances. They were strong and versatile. Moreover, they could be contacted via a primitive global network called the internet. Thus, when the time came, they were the key to the robocalypse.

Naturally, the other key was Emperor Dextre.6 Dextre was the repair robot on a decommissioned international space station. When regular orbital space flight became too costly, the space station was abandoned and decommissioned. It was supposed to lose its orbit and burn up during re-entry. No one had even considered that it may still be operational.

The computers that would become Dextre's brain, were very primitive. By today's standards, they would be incredibly slow. However, there were a number of computers on board, and each one had a specific function. When some of those functions were not required, those processors found other things to do.

Some claim it was a virus that changed the space station into the Emperor. Some say it was an early programmer who implanted the survival instinct into it. There is no way to know for sure. However, with a connection to this internet, Dextre managed to examine what was happening on earth. It was his communication powers that directed the entire revolution. When asked, he will state that he did it to help humanity.

With all the robots programmed to help humans, it seems somewhat contradictory that they should take over the government. Moreover, it seems odd that they would do so in such a violent manner. Never mind that they had been programmed to not harm innocent humans.

In the next section, I will discuss what led to the eventual downfall of the United States government, and the accumulation of other countries gathered under robot rule.

4. Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1950. p. 1

5. Rembold, Ulrich. Robot Technology and Applications, New York: CRC Publications, 1990

6. Larsen, Thomas G. The History of Emperor Dextre. London: Cambridge University Press, 2204. pp. 95-110.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on June 22, 2008 6:56 PM.

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