Source: xkcd: The Three Laws of Robotics
The Three Laws from the Wikipedia article:
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 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 Laws.[1
Not sure I’d agree that the third xkcd scenario inevitably leads to Killbot Hellscape. This is fortunate since it’s probably the closest to what will be. Indeed, its somewhat already the case with existing systems (well, minus the third law).
Personally, I’m wondering about the wisdom of even having the third law (the robot should protect itself), except strictly in support of obeying humans. As far as I can see, if there are ever any flaws, any unintended loopholes in the first two laws, the third law can only cause trouble. This comes down to not creating survival machines, particularly enslaved ones.
Critics of the Three Laws often point out that the devil is in the details. What exactly does it mean to avoid harming humans? Or if the orders from humans are contradictory, which ones should take precedence?
In reality, the Three Laws seem more like guidelines for engineers, who would have to work on the details of what they mean in each context. Of course, eventually the engineers will likely be robots.