Isaac Asimov would be very disappointed. And not just because US engineers did not read his books. Drones represent now-a-day the closest man-made machines to Asimov’s futurist robots: technologically unmatched, autonomous at the maximum extent allowed by cybernetics, and in direct interaction with human beings.
Though, drones are — ethically — the most far away from Asimov’s dreams. Or, I should rather say, drones are anti-robots. They are built, engineered and programmed in open contradiction with the Three Laws of Robotics.
The Three Laws of Robotics
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law
Drones principal scope is to terminate human beings through active interaction. Drones must obey orders given by human beings, primarily with the aim of killing other human beings. A drone must protect its own existence, at the cost of human life.
It is argued that drone activity prevents soldiers from being killed, while terminating dangerous enemies. It may well be true. A life for a life. An idea born with our own existence on this planet, well before Hobbes formulated his Homo Homini Lupus.
Whatever your idea is, this world is not the future Isaac Asimov imagined.