While one can never say never, I think that Matthew may well be correct.
One of the main tropes of science fiction has to be the self-aware robot or computer – one mobile, the other not, but both presented as self-aware and able to think as we do, although often better.
I think, therefore I am a slide rule.
Often, Frankenstein-style, the AI develops malevolence. That was a trope long before HAL; virtually all of Asimov’s robot stories from the 1940s onwards were designed to counter the notion of the AI turning on its creators. Asimov’s answer – which, apparently, was proposed to him by John W. Campbell – were the ‘laws of robotics’ in which machines simply couldn’t harm humans.
Inevitably, these laws didn’t work, and Asimov knew it; a lot of his stories involved finding ways that the laws failed. He spelled out the main point of failure in one of the final robot novels: all the builder had to do was…
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