There is a joke in science fiction about defeating an evil AI with some sort of paradox, but there has to be a reason for this. I'm aware the the I, Robot series had a story where a rival company's computers were melted down by a paradox, but what's the earliest example in fiction of a rogue intelligence (robot, computer, hologram) being defeated or disabled by a paradox?

  • Interesting. Not sure if there's anything earlier than Asimov, who had a short story based on that whose title I can't remember :-( – Matt Gutting Aug 29 '16 at 17:37
  • Not exactly "earliest", but I specifically liked how you can defeat the Anclave supercomputer in Fallout 3 using persuasion. – Gallifreyan Aug 29 '16 at 17:38
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    Title does not match question. Do you want any AI disabled by a paradox (as in the title), or does it have to be a "rogue intelligence" as in the body of the question?? – user14111 Aug 29 '16 at 17:45

I believe the earliest such story was "Liar!" by Isaac Asimov, circa 1941. In the story a mind-reading robot had been created and its unique ability produced unforeseen and unfortunate consequences. Susan Calvin drove the robot insane at the end of the story by forcing the robot to confront an inescapable First Law paradox.

“You can’t tell them,” droned the psychologist slowly, “because that would hurt and you mustn’t hurt. But if you don’t tell them, you hurt, so you must tell them. And if you do, you will hurt and you mustn’t, so you can’t tell them; but if you don’t, you hurt, so you must; but if you do, you hurt, so you mustn’t; but if you don’t, you hurt, so you must; but if you do, you—”

Herbie was up against the wall, and here he dropped to his knees. “Stop!” he shrieked.

  • So the I, Robot series was the earliest example? The story I mentioned in the question was from that same book. – CBredlow Aug 29 '16 at 18:22
  • That's the one I was thinking of. – Matt Gutting Aug 29 '16 at 18:34

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