R. Daneel Olivaw - Zeroth Law of Robotics

Zeroth Law of Robotics

In Robots and Empire, where Asimov finally links the Robot series with the Empire series, Giskard and Daneel often discuss the limitations of the Laws of Robotics, a process lengthened by the fact that their positronic pathways prevent thought along these lines, thus often leading to a temporary loss in the ability to talk or move. By the end of the book, when Daneel has formulated the Zeroth Law of Robotics ("A robot may not harm humanity, or through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm"), Giskard is the first robot to act according to this new law. However, the act of causing harm to a human being in violation of the First Law proves destructive for Giskard, due to the uncertainty of whether or not his actions benefit humanity in the long run. Before deactivating completely, Giskard transfers his powers of being able to read and influence minds to Daneel, whose closer tie to humanity allows him to slowly adapt to the new law without any risk of destruction.

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