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I, Robot

I, Robot - Isaac Asimov SETTING: Brian's kitchenBrian (B): (motioning to ingredients on the table) Robot, please take these ingredients and make a cake.Robot (R): I'm sorry, that would violate the First Law of Robotics [A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.] B: Huh? How so?R: My sensors indicate that you are 7% above your ideal body weight, and this cake is a sugary, fatty snack which would only push you further out of standards. I would be injuring you by contributing to your poor eating habits.B: Wha-? Okay. Well then, (motioning to vegetables) cut up these vegetables for a salad. That's healthy.R: Sorry... not enough information.B: You don't know how to cut vegetables?R: Oh no, that's no problem. It's just that I'm not equipped to assess whether these vegetable are fresh, or whether any of them were grown with harmful pesticides, or whether any of them have been genetically modified, which may pose undetermined long-term risks to your health.B: They look okay to me. I'm telling you these vegetables are fine. R: I'm sorry, you may be wrong, or you may be intentionally trying to harm yourself. I can't allow that.B: (sigh) Okay. I'll take care of the food preparation. You go outside and cut the lawn.R: I'm sorry, but I can't comply with that order.B: What? More First Law of Robots excuses?R: No, Zero-ith Law. [A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.]B: Cutting the lawn harms humanity!?R: Oh yes! Burning up all that petroleum raises atmospheric carbon dioxide levels... I'd be contributing to global warming AND, by cutting the grass, I'd be REDUCING the ability of the lawn to absorb carbon dioxide. Double whammy... yeah, I'm definitely not cutting the lawn.B: Fine. Could you please vaccuum the floor then?R: Global warming. Zero-ith law. B: Excuse me, but the vaccuum cleaner isn't gasoline powered!R: Yes, but it consumes electricity generated by a coal-burning power plant, which again produces CO2. Humanity will drown when the ocean levels rise up. I can't let that happen.B: How do you know our electricity comes from coal? Maybe it's nuclear power.R: (rolls eyes) That's even WORSE! B: Well, maybe it's solar or wind powered.R: Statistically that's highly unlikely, Master.B: (looking on to-do list) Well... my sister's birthday gift still needs to be wrapped.R: I'm sorry, I don't have enough information.B: (annoyed) Please explain.R: Well, for one thing, if she doesn't like the gift-B: She's not going to harm me! That's ridiculous!R: I was GOING TO SAY that you may feel bad, and it may contribute to a depressed state, placing you at increased risk for self-harm.B: What are you saying? I'd kill myself if my sister didn't like her gift? That's absurd.R: Sorry, I'm not going to risk it. I won't contribute to your injury. Not only that, but you're giving her a cardigan sweater. She's got small children in the house; if one of those buttons fell off, it could be a choking hazard.B: Well, that's it. There's nothing on my to-do list you can help with.I'll have to do all these things myself.R: Good. You need the exercise.