Dave -

Most excellent of you to do this, and what will be your venue for this class?


Are you familiar with our own Jack Williamson <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Williamson>'s vague parallel work in his "Humanoids" which began in 1947 with the Novelette: "With Folded Hands". I do not know if he ever acknowledged an influence in this work from Asimov's introduction to the "three laws" in 1941? He investigates the (unintended/unexpected catastrophic consequences of something like the three laws on humanity, having the human spirit "quelled" by being "niced" or "safed" near-to-death)

He claims to have written this as a cathartic project to shake off the existential angst/depression he felt from the (ab)use of atomic weapons at the end of WWII. Jack was too old to serve in the military when the war broke out (he was 36?), but instead volunteered to work in the South Pacific as a civilian meteorologist. He had started his career in Science Fiction before the term was fully adopted (Scientific Romance and Scientifiction being precursors according to Jack) with the publication of a short story "Metal Man" In Hugo Gernsbach's /Amazing Stories /in 1928. Up until the end of WWII he claims to have been somewhat of a techno-utopianist, believing that advancing technology would (continue to ) simply advance the quality of life of human beings (somewhat?) monotonically.

I hosted Jack at an evening talk at LANL/Bradbury Science Museum in 1998 during the Nebula Awards on the theme of how Science and Science Fiction inform one another. Jack was 90 that year and had over 90 published works at that time. His work was always somewhat in the vein of Space Opera and his characters were generally quite two dimensional and his gender politics typical of his generation of science fictioneers, yet he was still loved by his community. His use of this pulpy/pop medium as a way to investigate and discuss fundamental aspects of human nature and many of the social or even spiritual implications of the advance of technology was nevertheless quite inspired (IMO).

He died in 2007 at the ripe young age of 98 and was still producing work nearly up to the day of his death. In 1998 when I first met him, the OED was creating an appendix/section of "neologisms from science fiction" and he was credited (informally?) with having the most entries in the not-yet-published project. His most famous throwdown in this category at the time was his "invention" of anti-matter, which he called "contra-terrene" or more colloquially "seetee" (a phoneticization of the contraction "CT")! He was also quite proud of being interrogated by the FBI during the Manhattan project for having written a story about Atomic Weapons... they wanted to assume he had access to a security leak until he showed them a 1932(?) short story on the same theme, making it clear that the ideas of nuclear fission (fusion even?) as a weapon were not new (to him anyway)... that apparently satisfied them and of course, he didn't appreciate the full import of their interrogation until after the war.

Carry On!

 - Steve


On 8/9/17 9:05 AM, Prof David West wrote:
For what its worth - I will be teaching a short class next month in Santa Fe, "Isaac Asimov and the Robots." Two points of coverage: 1) the robots themselves invent and follow a "Zeroth Law" that allows them to eliminate individual human beings with a result the exact opposite of Hawking et. al.'s fears that our creations will not love us; 2) how the actual evolution of robotics and AI (see Daniel Suarez'/Kill Decision/ - autonomous swarming drones as tools of war and death to humans) diverged from the rosy naive 1950s view of the future that Asimov advanced.

davew


On Mon, Aug 7, 2017, at 09:54 PM, Carl Tollander wrote:
It seems to me that there are many here in the US who are not entirely on board with Asimov's First Law of Robotics, at least insofar as it may apply to themselves, so I suspect notions of "reining it in" are probably not going to fly.




On Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 1:57 AM, Alfredo Covaleda VĂ©lez <alfr...@covaleda.co <mailto:alfr...@covaleda.co>> wrote:

    Future will be quite interesting. How will be the human being of
    the future? For sure not a human being in the way we know.

    
http://m.eltiempo.com/tecnosfera/novedades-tecnologia/peligros-y-avances-de-la-inteligencia-artificial-para-los-humanos-117158
    
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