Almost any self-respecting science fiction fan will be able to tell you about Isaac Asimov and his 3 laws of robotics (first seen in Asimov’s 1942 pulp short Runaround) . . .
- 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.
But what about the actual ordering of these three laws – what if you made the first law the third law, what would happen then?
Well, have no fear, because the xkcd cartoon strip had postulated all the various options. And we finally see the full wisdom of Isaac!