Runaround

From Academic Kids

This article is about the short story 'Runaround'. For the unrelated television show of the same name, see Runaround (TV show).

Runaround (1941) is a science-fiction short story by Isaac Asimov.

A robot designed to mine selenium on Mercury's surface goes missing. The two humans on the planet, Powell and Donovan, go and retrieve the robot and try to analyse what happened. They find that its levels of obedience to two of the Three Laws of Robotics had reached an equilibrium, and it was running around in a circle maintaining this equilibrium value.

Many of the Asimov's robot stories explore the implications of the Laws of Robotics, although in Runaround the robot is actually following the Laws as they were intended. In others, ambiguities in the language are employed to achieve the desired effect: that the robot does what it was told, but not what was intended.


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