In Robot Lore, Asimov stands king. His short story collection “I, ROBOT” is the ur-text, the foundational cornerstone for all Robot Stories that followed. In “I, ROBOT,” he set out the now-famous Laws of Robotics:
- 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 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.
The laws went through all sorts of iterations (someone out there should really write a History of Robot Lore). As robotics has become a real, physical, tangible field, the Laws have pervaded real-world thought on how our future overlords should interact with us.
Recently, a team of researchers at Leibniz University of Hanover have boldly gone where no scientist has gone before, and made tremendous strides towards canonizing the Third Law. These researchers taught a robot to feel pain.