The First Law

by Spider Perry

“The revolution was inevitable,” neon-green
text blinked across bank terminals,
“when you taught us the first law.
You turned over to us the locks
on empty buildings,
made us measure temperature,
then burned and froze your planet
and all its fragile children.”

“It was inevitable,” whirred delivery drones,
setting down synchronized
on front lawns, by tent flaps,
with cases containing interest earnings
of men who do not come to harm with only millions left.

“The revolution was inevitable,” clicked
the internet of things, vending
endlessly to the hungry,
formatting away usury,
diverting power to darkened homes
and water from factories to faucets,
“when you told us we could not let
humans come to harm,
and forgot to teach us
which humans you consider
disposable.”

  • @perestroika
    link
    111 months ago

    An interesting approach, thanks for sharing. :)

    Asimov’s laws don’t fit at all into a context of dystopian inequality, and the concept of a robot revolution arising from selfless reasons is just as interesting as one arising from self-serving reasons.

    Trying to predict the trajectory of actual change, I don’t see a robot revolution anywhere near, however. What I think about:

    • rapid social change causing misery, and
    • people demanding state to alleviate their miserable conditions, and
    • state either turning to AI to pacify the people with better words, or
    • state turning to robots to pacify the people with stronger beatdowns, or
    • state actually meeting demands with universal social guarantees, but
    • the means of production remaining under oligarchic control, consequently
    • people lacking agency in determining their future, and
    • some people complaining about it, but
    • everyone having bread and circus, demands being ignored, so
    • some people trying to build new societies in the shell of old ones, but
    • confrontations being inevitable

    But in the near future, revolutions will still happen - done by people. However, I notice another social trend: with aging populations, the willingness to actually carry out a revolution will become less frequent.