Why would Bishop agree to return 2 of the living facehuggers back to the company labs as per Burke's order? Bishop himself says earlier in the film to Ripley

That could never happen now with our behavioral inhibitors. Impossible for me to harm or, by omission of action, allow to be harmed a human being.

Wouldn't he have known or computed that taking dangerous organisms to earth would equal MANY human beings subjected to harm or possible death?


Speculation: It's about short term versus long term.

The live specimens are (obviously) contained. As long as they remain contained they are not a threat of harm toward a human being. Therefore, no First Law conflict.

And you want them to fail negative on that, because if they fail positive they'd wind up pre-emptively destroying anything and everything that eventually, under the wrong circumstances, might harm a human being.

  • 1
    Also, if they "failed positive" on a test like that, how would they react to the possibility of one human being causing harm to another? – Steve-O Aug 6 '17 at 23:31
  • @steve-o Put all humans in padded rooms where they can't hurt themselves. – Shadur Aug 7 '17 at 4:12
  • What about the fact that Bishop is property of 'the company' therefor carries out company instructions? – Seamusthedog Aug 25 '18 at 13:44

Disclaimer: What follows is my opinion only.

Bishop is capable of feeling both pain and emotions. He has a well developed personality but it's not clear whether this is the result of his kind personality or the programming which doesn't allow him to harm a human being or contribute to the actions that could be harmful for a living person. He was created by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

The official Aliens Bio Cards state that Bishop was assembled on LX-469 and is the latest Hyperdine model designed to study Aliens.

The opinion I have is that Bishop follows Burke's orders beacuse of Asimov's Three laws of Robotics, which I further are implied by Bishop's lines in Aliens. Here is Bishop's interaction with Burke and Ripley.

Burke: I'm sorry. I don't know why I didn't even- Ripley's last trip out, the syn- the artificial person malfunctioned.
Ripley: "Malfunctioned"?
Burke: There were problems and a-a few deaths were involved.
Bishop: I'm shocked. Was it an older model?
Burke: Yeah, the Hyperdine System's 120-A/2.
Bishop: Well, that explains it then. The A/2s always were a bit twitchy. That could never happen now with our behavioral inhibitors. It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being. {My emhpasis} 1

Now onto Asimov's Three Laws of Robotoics

The Three Laws, quoted as being from the "Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.", are:

  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 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

As you can see, there is an uncanny cross-over with Bishop's line emphasised above and the first law.

Now, the second law follows that Burke's order would be carried out, it is left for discussion as to whether Bishop would know at the outset of the order being given by Burke how dangerous the Facehugger would be.

At that point in time, only Ripley's account is known, and perhaps only really known by Burke himself.

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