Robots and Empire

Robots and Empire

Science fiction-roman.

The Laws of Robots

Crimes, Contracts, and Torts

The Laws of Robots

This book explores how the design, construction, and use of robotics technology may affect today’s legal systems and, more particularly, matters of responsibility and agency in criminal law, contractual obligations, and torts. By distinguishing between the behaviour of robots as tools of human interaction, and robots as proper agents in the legal arena, jurists will have to address a new generation of “hard cases.” General disagreement may concern immunity in criminal law (e.g., the employment of robot soldiers in battle), personal accountability for certain robots in contracts (e.g., robo-traders), much as clauses of strict liability and negligence-based responsibility in extra-contractual obligations (e.g., service robots in tort law). Since robots are here to stay, the aim of the law should be to wisely govern our mutual relationships.

I, Asimov

A Memoir

I, Asimov

Arguably the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived, Isaac Asimov also possessed one of the most brilliant and original minds of our time. His accessible style and far-reaching interests in subjects ranging from science to humor to history earned him the nickname “the Great Explainer.” I. Asimov is his personal story—vivid, open, and honest—as only Asimov himself could tell it. Here is the story of the paradoxical genius who wrote of travel to the stars yet refused to fly in airplanes; who imagined alien universes and vast galactic civilizations while staying home to write; who compulsively authored more than 470 books yet still found the time to share his ideas with some of the great minds of our century. Here are his wide-ranging thoughts and sharp-eyed observations on everything from religion to politics, love and divorce, friendship and Hollywood, fame and mortality. Here, too, is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the varied personalities—Campbell, Ellison, Heinlein, Clarke, del Rey, Silverberg, and others—who along with Asimov helped shape science fiction. As unique and irrepressible as the man himself, I. Asimov is the candid memoir of an incomparable talent who entertained readers for nearly half a century and whose work will surely endure into the future he so vividly envisioned.

An Asimov Companion

Characters, Places and Terms in the Robot/Empire/Foundation Metaseries

An Asimov Companion

A prolific author, Isaac Asimov is most admired for his science fiction, including his collection of short stories I, Robot and his Robot, Empire and Foundation series novels. While each of these narratives takes place in a different fictional universe, Asimov asserted at the end of his career that he had, with his last Robot and Foundation novels, unified them into one coherent metaseries. This reference work identifies and describes all of the characters, locales, artifacts, concepts and institutions in Asimov’s metaseries. Mimicking the style of The Encyclopedia Galactica, the fictional compendium of all human knowledge that features prominently in the Foundation series, this encyclopedia is an invaluable companion to Asimov’s science fiction oeuvre.

Moral Machines

Teaching Robots Right from Wrong

Moral Machines

Computers are already approving financial transactions, controlling electrical supplies, and driving trains. Soon, service robots will be taking care of the elderly in their homes, and military robots will have their own targeting and firing protocols. Colin Allen and Wendell Wallach argue that as robots take on more and more responsibility, they must be programmed with moral decision-making abilities, for our own safety. Taking a fast paced tour through the latest thinking about philosophical ethics and artificial intelligence, the authors argue that even if full moral agency for machines is a long way off, it is already necessary to start building a kind of functional morality, in which artificial moral agents have some basic ethical sensitivity. But the standard ethical theories don't seem adequate, and more socially engaged and engaging robots will be needed. As the authors show, the quest to build machines that are capable of telling right from wrong has begun. Moral Machines is the first book to examine the challenge of building artificial moral agents, probing deeply into the nature of human decision making and ethics.

The Robots of Dawn

The Robots of Dawn

A millennium into the future two advances have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Detective Elijah Baiey is called to the Spacer world Aurora to solve a bizarre case of roboticide. The prime suspect is a gifted roboticist who had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to commit the crime. There's only one catch: Baley and his positronic partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, must prove the man innocent. For in a case of political intrigue and love between woman and robot gone tragically wrong, there's more at stake than simple justice. This time Baley's career, his life, and Earth's right to pioneer the Galaxy lie in the delicate balance.

Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Lest darkness fall

Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Lest darkness fall

"These four volumes cover 791 books or series, 238 of them published during the 1980s and 1990s. the entries are 1,000 words long for single books and 1,500 for series, with a one-sentence summary beginning each entry followed by bibliographical information ... Volume 4 contains an extensive bibliography of critical works on science fiction and fantasy, a list of major award winners, a genre index." Booklist.