“That’s closer to what Asimov said.” “Three. A robot must protect its own existence as long as it does not conflict with the other Laws.”
“Those aren’t exactly Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics but they would protect humans.” “Except that the Fourth Law voids all the other Laws.”
“Not Fourth Law. There’s a Zeroth Law: ‘A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.'” “That’s not it.”
“Four: A robot must obey human orders unless it would cause a security problem.” Granger asks “What decides that?” “That’s a good question.”
Granger says “My God! If that’s how an artificial intelligence construes Asimov’s Laws of Robotics we’re all in danger! It must be stopped!”
Regi says “Dad, don’t do anything rash, or that will cause a rash.” He replies “I know just how to do it using Arkaby’s suggestion.” Uh oh.
I say “Which suggestion was that?” “I have a cloning lab and a map of the human genome. Why just replace body parts? Why not enhance them?”
“When the Singularity takes over automated systems, humans will fall back on their own abilities to defeat them.” “When did I suggest that?”
“It was implied.” I say “Will you at least promise not to upgrade your telephone answering machine?” “What? Sure. Anyway we’ll be too busy.”
I’m relieved. If Granger doesn’t upgrade his IVR, it won’t become artificially intelligent and threaten our future. Our work here is done.
Granger picks up his phone and says “A? Get down here right now. We’ve got some work to do!” Regi says “Dad, about Dr. A.” “What about him?”
The walls of Granger’s office shimmer. I think Regi and I are about to phase shift to our present, a reality without an intelligent IVR.
As the room fades Regi feels it too. She grabs my arm “We have to warn Dad about A!” “We’ve already warned him about the AI.” “Not the AI.”
“Dr. A, his Medical Chief of Staff, will split him in half!” “A didn’t kill him in the first place. He severed his clone.” “He’ll try!”
Granger says into his phone “Think about genetic recoding. Think about how we can enhance my abilities.” Then “And think about palindromes.”
Regi screams “A WILL KILL YOU!” I can’t hear Granger’s reply. As a last resort I sign “A’s a killer!” Granger signs back “What squirrel?”
Damn! My ASL is still rusty! The room shifts, fades and we are standing in the circular corridors of Body Parts R Us, back in our own time.
I check my watch to prove we’re back. Regi says “Did you hear it? Before we faded, Dad said he’d watch out for A.” “I didn’t hear that.”
My watch has stopped running. Regi continues “He heard me. How else did he know to replace his body with a clone to thwart A’s murder plan?”
“I don’t know. That happened before we phased back in time.” “But then it happened after.” “We changed the future which happened already?”
“That’s how it seems and we wouldn’t have gone back in time in the first place if Dad hadn’t upgraded his IVR system.” Now my head hurts.
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