I'm not sure how Asimov intended them. But the three laws is a trope that
clearly shows the inadequacy of deontological ethics. Rules are fine as far as
they go. But they don't go very far. We can see this even in the foundations
of mathematics, the unification of physics, and polyphenism/robustness in
biology. Von Neumann (Burks) said it best when he said: "But in the
complicated parts of formal logic it is always one order of magnitude harder to
tell what an object can do than to produce the object." Or, if you don't like
that, you can see the same perspective in his iterative construction of sets as
an alternative to the classical conception.
The point being that reality, traditionally, has shown more expressiveness than
any of our rule sets.
There are ways to handle the mismatch in expressivity between reality versus
our rule sets. Stochasticity is the measure of the extent to which a rule set
matches a set of patterns. But Grant's right to qualify that with evolution,
not because of the way evolution is stochastic, but because evolution requires
a unit to regularly (or sporadically) sync with its environment.
An AI (or a rule-obsessed human) that sprouts fully formed from Zeus' head will
*always* fail. It's guaranteed to fail because syncing with the environment
isn't *built in*. The sync isn't part of the AI's onto- or phylo-geny.
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