“Can We Program or Train Robots to be Good?”by Amada Sharkey, please complete the attached exercise.


Exercise on “Robots Should be Slaves”



The following are Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:


  1. A robot may not harm a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must follow the orders given it by a human being except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence so long as such protection does not conflict with the first or Second Laws.




You are a robot, programmed according to Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, as outlined on Page 2 of Amanda Sharkey’s article “Can we program or train robots to be good?”


What are your logical reactions to the following situations?  Remember you have to follow the three laws and you are a robot.



  1. A huge tree is about to fall on a child playing on the other side of the street.  A crossing guard is holding a STOP sign at you, preventing you from getting to the child.  What do you do? Explain your reasoning.



  1. The situation is the same as in #1, except you now realize that the tree will crush you before you can get to the child. Based on the rules, what do you do? Explain your reasoning.



  1. Asimov later added a fourth law of robotics: A robot may not injure humanity, or through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. Describe a scenario in which a robot might encounter difficulty determining whether this law applies.



Write three paragraphs explaining your answers to the above questions.



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