Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Asimov's Three Laws

Just to refresh the concept, Dr. Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics aren't real laws. They are a literary plot device. Dr. Asimov knew that there were work arounds for them. He always found reasons to work around the three laws in his robot stories. What you WILL find to be true is this:

1.Robots are machines. Machines, like humans, age and break down if not properly maintained. A faulty machine will injure or kill the first person that is careless.

2. Any military that uses robots on a field of battle will have some type designed for defensive/offensive combat. If you don't want to be killed by a military robot, stay out of it's line of fire.

3. Hobby robots made out of sturdy plastic will bite your fingers just as hard, if not harder, as metal when you grab them in the middle of program execution.

In the recent movie Astroboy, the robots mention in passing about Asimov's three laws. "You know, a robot may not injure a human, yada yada yada." The laws have no effect on these guys. And if you think they should, you need to stay away from your blender. You might like the number of fingers on your hands.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Here is my reply to an article on the New York Times website about micropayment models. By the time you read it here, it should have cleared the censors on their site.

-"In retrospect, most newspapers had a micropayment system in place decades ago, and never realized it: The corner newspaper box. John Q. Public stood at the bus stop and read the headlines through the cloudy plastic window. (free content). If there was a story that really interested him, he put his coins in the slot, and bought the paper. (micropayment. The cost of a single paper amounts to pennies per story.) Redistribution of paid content also existed then. (some jackass paid his coins, then took ALL the papers in the box and gave them to his friends.) Of course subscriptions are self explanatory.

Advertising models aside, micropayments are the way to go, folks. Give me a headline with a single paragraph. If the story is compelling, I'll click to buy it. I think I can afford a penny or two."