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Is Asimov's first law enough to keep a robot bartender from harming others?

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M-1 labor system
M-1 labor system

Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics states, "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." However, injury mostly corresponds to physical harm, not mental or emotional harm. Sleep Dealer director Alex Rivera plays with human emotions in his latest short film A Robot Walks Into a Bar. Here, an M-1 labor robot plays a bartender who grapples with causing unintended pain to the people around him, while also being unable to stop the violence people do to one another constantly. Coupled with the miasmic fear that comes with robots replacing every human task, we're left to wonder if Asimov's laws are workable at all if the emotional stakes are always so high. You can watch the full short at, which is a collection of thoughtful meditations of technology and the future.