Almanac – April 06

1992 – Isaac Asimov died.  American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards

Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke,  he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime.  Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series;  his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series.

His  robot stories promulgated a set of rules of ethics for robots and intelligent machines that greatly influenced other writers and thinkers in their treatment of the subject.

Asimov notes in one of his biographical pieces that he was largely inspired by the almost relentless tendency of robots up to that time to fall consistently into a Frankenstein plot in which they destroyed their creator.

The Three Laws of Robotics

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

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