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123 votes
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What prevents Asimov's robots from locking all humans in padded cells for the humans protection?

The robots in Asimov's works generally don't have the 'mental' sophistication needed to look ahead for abstract harm in the manner you suggest. For them, the 'inaction' clause must mean the robot ...
PMar's user avatar
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112 votes
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Asimov's story where a man's speech contains no information

This is the Foundation classic. (Link) In a comparative article The Art of Saying Nothing the author recounts Asimov's Foundation exactly as described: In the Isaac Asimov sci-fi classic Foundation, ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
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95 votes

When does the copyright on Isaac Asimov's works expire?

There are various terms for US copyright and when the works published in that situation nominally expire. However, since the 1980s every 20 years a new copyright extension act that includes all works ...
Yakk's user avatar
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81 votes
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When does the copyright on Isaac Asimov's works expire?

This question is covered by the Asimov FAQ: All of Asimov's work, fiction and non-fiction, was under copyright at the time of the Good Doctor's death. Under current U.S. law, the copyrights for his ...
Ubik's user avatar
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75 votes
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How does Asimov's second law deal with contradictory orders from different people?

Consider, all Robots stories are short stories or novellas published during a very long time span, so they are not 100% coherent among themselves sometimes, though the overall framework is. As ...
Seretba's user avatar
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69 votes

How did Isaac Asimov come up with the 3 laws of robotics?

The Three Laws developed gradually. It started with Robbie, aka Strange Playfellow, Asimov's first robot story, which he wrote in 1939. Asimov thought of robots as “industrial products […] built with ...
Ubik's user avatar
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58 votes

Did Asimov model the character of the Mule in his Foundation series on any particular historical person?

One influence was Timur, also known as Tamerlane, a Turco-Mongol conqueror: [My] notion of the Mule as someone who destroyed an apparently inevitable sweep of victory, which was then reconstituted ...
Ubik's user avatar
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58 votes
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A short tale of a robot male house servant which the lady owner falls in love with

It's possible the story you are looking for is called "Satisfaction Guaranteed". It is one of Asimovs robot stories and, as you mention, features a woman with a male humanoid robot assigned ...
skyjack's user avatar
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52 votes
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What was the story Asimov pulled from circulation over accidental similarities?

This is the short story Question (not to be confused with his more famous short story The Last Question). From the wikipedia summary: The story concerns two technicians who are servicing Multivac, ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
49 votes

Which Asimov story has malevolent 3-law AI?

Genocide of non-humans In Foundation's Edge it's implied that the robots using time travel shenanigans are the reason why humans never meet any aliens in the milky way, only empty planets ready to be ...
Murphy's user avatar
  • 3,663
47 votes

Meaning of "gay ladies' man"?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word "Gay" as old-fashioned happy (for example) "We had a gay old time down at the dance hall." This was the common use of the word in the ...
Valorum's user avatar
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46 votes

Which Asimov story has malevolent 3-law AI?

I remember one novel by Isaac Asimov in which it was revealed, toward the end of the book, that one brilliant scientist had been working hard on a plan to use positronic brains to conquer the other ...
Lorendiac's user avatar
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46 votes
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Daneel or Giskard quote about functioning more efficiently, similar to happiness

I found it! It's in the third book of the Robots cycle, The Robots of Dawn (chapter 2: "Daneel"), and said by Daneel, as you correctly guess (emphasis mine): “Of a certainty, Partner Elijah....
Gallifreyan's user avatar
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44 votes
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What did Asimov find embarrassing about "Marooned Off Vesta”?

I believe that the embarrassment is from the autobiographical snippets provided by the authors at the end of the magazine, rather than over the story itself. There are two sentences which might be ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
43 votes
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What was Asimov's postcard short story?

According to the Wikipedia entry on Asimov, the short story is called "About Nothing" (1975), which first appeared on a postcard and then was included in the Winds of Change and other short stories ...
JohnP's user avatar
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43 votes
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Blurb from dust jacket of the first edition (1950) of Isaac Asimov's Pebble in the Sky

Legible if you view full size. from here For the past several years the name of Isaac Asimov has meant top-drawer fast-action stories to the readers of science-fiction magazines. Dr. Asimov's ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
40 votes
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Murder mystery, probably by Asimov, but SF plays a crucial role

It is, as you suspect, an Asimov; "The Dust of Death" (1957), originally published in Venture Science Fiction Magazine, January 1957 and thereafter collected in Asimov's Mysteries. "An ...
DavidW's user avatar
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38 votes
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Asimov story about a scientist who foils an attempt at genocide through genetically engineered food

This is "The Winnowing", a short story by Asimov first published in Analog in 1976. The plot is essentially as you described it. In the future world of 2005, with the world's population at 6 ...
Clara Díaz Sanchez's user avatar
38 votes
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When was the origin of the "Nightfall" quotation found?

The quotation wasn't really obscure. Once The Early Asimov was published, where Asimov said that he couldn't find its source, he was immediately informed about it by several readers: A few years ago, ...
Ubik's user avatar
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37 votes
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Asimov's robot and the Trolley Problem

The short story "Liar!" has been referenced as the source for the claim that the robot would be unable to take action, or burn out after doing so. However, this story is mentioned, and in a ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 20.6k
36 votes
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A short tale about a dim-witted man with outstanding presence, being taught how to deliver a speech by reading from elaborate scripts

Sounds like Ignition Point! by Isaac Asimov, originally published in The Winds of Change and Other Stories in 1983. From Tropedia: "Ignition Point!" is about a man who figures out how to ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
35 votes

Asimov's robot and the Trolley Problem

As far as a classic "Three Laws" robot is concerned, the answer is very simple indeed. As we see in Liar!, a robot who, either by action or inaction would harm a human simply mentally implodes. The ...
Valorum's user avatar
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35 votes

How does Asimov's second law deal with contradictory orders from different people?

In some stories, robots distinguish importance of an order based on amount of urgency/importance in the language and on who gave the order. I am thinking of Little Lost Robot as mentioned by ...
usul's user avatar
  • 447
35 votes

What Asimov character ate only synthetic foods?

Could you be misremembering the Chief Judge from Asimov's "Good Taste"? From the TV Tropes entry for Future Food is Artificial: The protagonist enters (and wins) the annual cooking contest, ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
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35 votes
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How many spacers were there?

From The Caves of Steel, Chapter 5, we have this quote from R. Daneel: One thing they never forget, you see, is that Earth’s population is eight billions, while the total population of the fifty ...
Andrew's user avatar
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32 votes
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How did robots overcome the three rules?

In the short story "Escape!", the temporary death of humans during hyperspace travel leads to mental difficulties for the robot ship designer. However Daneel/Demerzel can kill due to his ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 52.2k
31 votes
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Which Asimov story has malevolent 3-law AI?

It's important to note that Asimov's robot stories are all separate stories that he wrote for different reasons, that have different themes. Some stories, such as Runaround, emphasize the fallacy of ...
Devsman's user avatar
  • 1,368
30 votes

What prevents Asimov's robots from locking all humans in padded cells for the humans protection?

Since the "merger" of the Robot universe and the Foundation universe reveals that robots manipulated and dominated human history for thousands of years, in a very real sense the galaxy is their padded ...
tbrookside's user avatar
  • 7,005
29 votes

Which Asimov story has malevolent 3-law AI?

. . . That Thou Art Mindful of Him This story was the setting for trying to resolve the issues with the second law, that being "A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 2,629
29 votes

Daneel or Giskard quote about functioning more efficiently, similar to happiness

There is also this quote from Robots and Empire: "Are you pleased that you will be seeing Elijah Baley again?" "I am not certain, Madam Gladia, how best to describe my inner state. It ...
isanae's user avatar
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