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Motorola Adopting 3 Laws of Robotics For Android?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-killing-humans dept.

Android 178

jfruhlinger writes "Android's popularity is growing, but its lack of enterprise security features is making IT departments pull their hair out. Two of the biggest Android vendors, Motorola and Samsung, aren't waiting for Google, but are building their own security functionality into the devices they sell. Motorola's version will be facilitated by their purchase of 3LM, an Android-centric mobile security provider that bases their strategy on Asimov's Three Laws or Robotics, though the order is tweaked: The device must protect the user, protect itself, and obey the user, in that order."

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178 comments

"building in security" (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204484)

Well, it was fun while it lasted. The 'peoples' phone: RIP. 2011

Re:"building in security" (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204604)

The 'peoples' phone: RIP. 2011

Yup. I though the same thing as soon as I saw "protect itself, and obey the user, in that order"; I'm assuming that rooting, tethering and other unauthorised usage are going to to feature on the list of things that the phone needs to 'protect itself' from. The fact that Motorola, the guys behind that whole 'eFuse' piece of crap, are involved pretty much seals the deal.

Re:"building in security" (4, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204694)

I would prefer that if I so ask it, the device will obey me even at my peril or its own.

Sometimes human beings have to die, just a little, for something really spectacular to happen.

Re:"building in security" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205324)

This is the deepest thing I've read on Slashdot in weeks.

Re:"building in security" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204684)

Zeroth law - thou must protect the content, AKA: DRM

Re:"building in security" (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204796)

Missed that whole "Enterprise security" and "IT departments pulling their hair out" bit did you? Users are stupid. (Not all of them, all the time, but enough of them, enough of the time.) When you are stupid and risk your own data, it is a learning experience. When you do the same at the office, it is a slashdot story. For a personal phone, yes this sucks. From a company standpoint, Thank You!

Re:"building in security" (2)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204832)

As an IT security person, I applaud Motorola's initiative. As soon as I see it hitting the market, I will review and probably start recommending it to my customers.

As the owner of a rooted Motorola Android phone, my next one will probably from a different brand.
The main reason I rooted my phone was to use OpenVPN on it. Which is a security tool.

I wonder if that level of irony can be unhealthy...

Re:"building in security" (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204912)

Well that level of irony can be unhealthy for your company's checkbook.

Now users will be in a position to demand a company phone for company work rather than just using their own.

That's fine if your company is willing to pay the expense.

Re:"building in security" (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205490)

Company phone is not any more unusual than company notebook these days, specially for people who need external access to the network.

Actually, for many cases, I can see the old desktop+notebook combo being replaced by desktop+smartphone. I've have heard often enough about people asking for a notebook for use during meetings and presentations. I for one stopped doing that and only use my phone these days. 99% of the time my notebook is sitting quietly in my desk (besides my desktop).

Re:"building in security" (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204894)

Missed that whole "Enterprise security" and "IT departments pulling their hair out" bit did you?

Nope didn't miss it a bit. There are already corporate friendly phones. A consumer friendly phone would be nice to have.

Re:"building in security" (1)

skyride (1436439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204898)

Well it is only 3rd party hardware vendors involved, I doubt google will be getting involved any time soon.

Re:"building in security" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205654)

No they won't, as they no longer make phones at all. It's ONLY the 3rd parties now.

User Asks: (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204488)

Can I eat the device's battery?

Logic bombed.

Re:User Asks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204922)

User Asks: Can I eat the device's battery?

Logic bombed.

Android answers: No. (protecting the user and itself)

How does that "bomb" the logic?

Re:User Asks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205544)

You arent able to.. if you didnt have special screwdriver for yor iPhone

They got 2 & 3 swapped. (-1, Redundant)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204504)

Asimov's laws are: don't harm humans, obey humans, protect self, in that order.

-jcr

Re:They got 2 & 3 swapped. (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204570)

FTFS:

an Android-centric mobile security provider that bases their strategy on Asimov's Three Laws or Robotics, though the order is tweaked: The device must protect the user, protect itself, and obey the user, in that order

Re:They got 2 & 3 swapped. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204698)

Yo dude, I think you've got rules 2 & 3 swapped there.

Re:They got 2 & 3 swapped. (1)

synaptik (125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204590)

If you read TFS (not even TFA,) you'll understand that they swapped them intentionally.

The three laws are intentionally wrong (3, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204514)

... to allow for an interesting development of a series of stories that culminate in unexpected consequences. have a read, and then ask yourself what the bugs are in the restatement.

Hint: the bug is now the highest priority.

--dave

Re:The three laws are intentionally wrong (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205348)

Even as a kid I thought these three laws were a bit goofy and were clearly just a plot device. As an adult engineer I see that these are really just the "three design requirements of robotics".

The Zeroth Law (5, Informative)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204544)

Of course, it won't be until much later that the zeroth law of phone security is discovered. That being: "The device may not harm the corporation, or, by inaction, allow the corporation to come to harm."

Re:The Zeroth Law (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204884)

Judge: Corporation, you're liquidated!
[zeroth law vanishes]
Android: Thank you.

Re:The Zeroth Law (2)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205054)

The Android in question, and indeed, all androids built with this directive would do everything in their power to prevent the corporation from liquidation. Failing at that, they would self destruct from the logical error that results.

The fourth directive (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204904)

I think that's actually the fourth law, or rather, the fourth directive.

Re:The fourth directive (1)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205040)

Incorrect, as the zeroth law is to be obeyed before the first, second, and third. Thus the first law of phone security becomes "The device may not harm the user, or, by inaction, cause the user to come to harm as long as it does not violate the zeroth law" and so on for the rest. Read more Asimov.

Actually (2)

overkill1024 (1016283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204924)

It will be discovered that there is a secret fourth Directive which prevents the device from arresting any senior executive of Motorola Inc.

Re:The Zeroth Law (1)

Pope Raymond Lama (57277) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205144)

Asimov's "zeroth law" was to " protect humanity -
but regardless of that the " thress laws" are already perverted here in order to "protect the corporation".
Asimov's 3 lawas where : Protect humans; 2) OBEY humans; 3) Protectself.

"Protect self" here is a cheap excuse for DRM - protecting the corp. and harming humans.

Re-ordering the laws is just an Orwelian sadistic twist.

Wrong order. (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204550)

I love my Android but, its no surprise that the maker would prioritize protection above obedience. I would change the order:
1. Obey the authorized user (esp since he is normally the OWNER)
2. Protect the authorized user.
3. Protect itself.

Different orders can be considered when they become self aware. Until then, its a tool damnit. My hammer doesn't try to protect me, nor would I want it to. A safety on a gun may "protect me" but, the device definitely obeys before protects, because all the user needs to do is turn off the safety, and all protection is gone.

As the user/owner of a non-self aware device, it should obey me, even if my intention is to use it to destroy itself, or others.

Re:Wrong order. (2)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204622)

As the user/owner of a non-self aware device, it should obey me, even if my intention is to use it to destroy itself, or others.

The problem is that this is the situation we already have. Our machines obey us, even if we have been socially engineered to instruct our machines to perform tasks that are malicious. A zombie PC damages itself, its owner, other machines, and their owners.

This application of the mythical "Three Laws" seems designed to protect us from ourselves.

Now, this is going to annoy the living crap out of me, and I will definitely want to find a way to disable the directives. Especially that Fourth Directive. Oh, sorry, I keep thinking of John Murphy's Prime Directives [wikipedia.org] :

1. "Serve the public trust"
2. "Protect the innocent"
3. "Uphold the law"
4. (Classified)

(oops) (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204656)

Sorry, please apply the following to the above:

s/John Murphy/Alex Murphy/g

Though to be fair, the Wikipedia article is unclear about what the middle initial "J" stands for...

Re:(oops) (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204896)

Well, when speaking about Murphy, it's obvious that you have to make mistakes ... even if the Murphy you speak of isn't the one of Murphy's Law.

Re:Wrong order. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204798)

That would be right if they wanted to protect the device from someone/something else.

In my opinion, what they really want to do with law #2 is protect the device *from* the user. So no jailbreak for you, Sir!

Re:Wrong order. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204826)

I would change the order:
1. Obey the authorized user (esp since he is normally the OWNER)
2. Protect the authorized user.
3. Protect itself.

I would change it slightly differently:
  1. Obey the authorized user if, after (non-verbosely but with option of expanded explanation) warning him of issues with laws 2 or 3, he says he really means it.
  2. Protect the authorized user.
  3. Protect itself.
  4. Obey the authorized user.

Re:Wrong order. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204882)

after (non-verbosely but with option of expanded explanation) warning him of issues with laws 2 or 3, he says he really means it.

"Are you really, really, absolutely double sure?"

Sounds like Windows Vista...

Re:Wrong order. (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205098)

I would change the order:
1. Obey the authorized user (esp since he is normally the OWNER)
2. Protect the authorized user.
3. Protect itself.

I would change it slightly differently:

  1. Obey the authorized user if, after (non-verbosely but with option of expanded explanation) warning him of issues with laws 2 or 3, he says he really means it.

  2. Protect the authorized user.

  3. Protect itself.

  4. Obey the authorized user.*

*Only if said action occurs on a device without an active cellular network connection or with a cell network where the action does not potentially harm the network or any other users of the network.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204852)

While that's great for you and I, the average user is probably at least leaning against the idiot fence, if not straddling it, and is likely to do something stupid. Look at the number of malware infested PCs. It's not always the users fault, but if they download and click on NataliePortmanHotGritsXXX.jpeg.exe and the device obeys them, there's only so much that can be done. Normally I wouldn't care too much, but these devices store contact information and have network connections. I definitely don't want spam to start spreading to mobile phones any more than it already has.

You might be productive with an extra length of rope, but for a lot of users it's just more to hang themselves. It's likely that Google will keep offering their Nexus line of phones, so there will always be at least one that's inline with your ordering. The masses are probably better off with the added layers of protection. Most probably won't even know that they're there and if it really bothers them, they can always root the device and install a custom ROM. If they don't know how to do that or can't follow the directions online, they probably don't need it.

Unlike driving there aren't any repercussions for being an irresponsible shithead with a computer device. Imagine how hazard roadways would be if the same idiotic behavior shown by computer users was permitted by motorists. Sticking people in a walled garden is fine by me if it stops them from crapping all over everyone else's experience. If they're smart enough to break out of the garden they're probably smart enough to avoid having their phone turned into a zombie.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204910)

The whole point is they will not be able to install a custom rom. Look at the droid X it still cannot boot a custom kernel, it must kexec into one.

This is motorola extending that.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205008)

It's not always the users fault, but if they download and click on NataliePortmanHotGritsXXX.jpeg.exe and the device obeys them, there's only so much that can be done.

Here's the question that doesn't get asked nearly often enough: Why should running an .exe automatically hand over complete control of the device to it on a silver platter?

The ability to run programs with limited privileges has existed in microcomputers since 1982. (Yes, the Intel 80286 with "protected mode".) But OS programmers have completely failed to make effective use of it. Instead, they just let any program access any file, and blame the user for the inevitable plague of malware. It's somewhat like the situation in parts of the US with the famously ineffective "abstinence-only" sex education. People want to (have sex | run programs), technology exists to make it safer, but the establishment prefers NOT to (teach about | implement) it and instead tell people how they're (going to hell | idiots) for their desires.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205168)

1. android binaries are not called .exe
2. android has permissions limitiations, when an app is installed you have to ok the permissions is it going to get. What needs to be added is the ability to still run the app with only some of the permissions approved. This would however mean that ad supported apps would be useless as the user would never allow them to access the network.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205258)

Even if you were to clearly spell out the malicious crap that an application is going to do, some people won't bother to read it or won't understand and will keep clicking until the application is installed. People who are completely incapable or unwilling to act responsibly shouldn't be given absolute freedom in cases where their careless actions could cause harm to others.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205586)

Android also has a VM, where even if there was a flaw in the OS that would allow something to get root, it would have to get out of the VM. Since the Dalvik VM is constantly updated by Google, with bugs fixed quite quickly, it would take an attacker a significant time to find a hole to get out of the VM.

After getting out of the VM and able to execute Linux system calls directly, there is getting out of the user mode. This can be trivial, or it can be quite difficult, depending on device.

Because Android has two security hurdles before a rogue app can seize the phone, with updates able to be pushed almost immediately, its security is as good as anything else present on the market in the way of phones.

To boot, Android's security doesn't depend on keeping users from having full access to the phone. A rogue app still has to get past the VM and user mode to get anywhere, and all it takes is one access to su with a knowledgeable user wondering about the access, and Google will be throwing the kill switch hours later.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204906)

"The authorized user" is not always the owner of the device. They're trying to build enterprise software, so they assume that the system might be compromised.

Re:Wrong order. (0)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205076)

I love my Android but, its no surprise that the maker would prioritize protection above obedience. I would change the order:
1. Obey the authorized user (esp since he is normally the OWNER)
2. Protect the authorized user.
3. Protect itself.

Different orders can be considered when they become self aware. Until then, its a tool damnit. My hammer doesn't try to protect me, nor would I want it to. A safety on a gun may "protect me" but, the device definitely obeys before protects, because all the user needs to do is turn off the safety, and all protection is gone.

As the user/owner of a non-self aware device, it should obey me, even if my intention is to use it to destroy itself, or others.

That is fine as long as it is a WIFI only device but as soon as it uses the cellular network then you are now out in the public and you can potentially not only harm yourself but others and the network that you share.

Re:Wrong order. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205186)

Bullshit, this is FUD by the telecoms. You cannot do anything other than use normal cellular functions. Android does not even control the radio directly. Stop spreading this crap.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205082)

Yep. By moving obey last, they can define damage to the device as all the usual things not allowed: reflashing, jailbreaking, installing your own OS, whatever. The three laws are ordered that way because only that gives the user control over everything except that which would endanger him.

Re:Wrong order. (1)

DigitalCrackPipe (626884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205196)

The order is designed to protect users from themselves. Many phone owners will try to do harm to themselves and the phone through stupidity, ignorance, or impatience. Those same people will complain and cause the handset manufacturer and carrier lots of problems when the expected outcome of dangerous activities is achieved. What people think they want doesn't always jive with how much they like the outcome.

While there is a place for advanced tools for advanced users, the majority of users aren't advanced. Perhaps a hard-to-enable unlock mode would be appropriate to retain freedoms but not make it easy for people to make themselves unhappy.

Re:Wrong order. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205344)

I agree. The reason I bought two Android phones instead of an iPhone is because I want my phone to do what I WANT, not "protect" me or itself, or some company, or anything else. Their order is wrong.

Unfortunately, you are incorrect (2)

Tanman (90298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205660)

I hate to bust your bubble, but saying "1. Obey the authorized user (esp since he is normally the OWNER)" is wrong for security. This is about security.

The fact of the matter is that social engineering is far simpler than hacking in almost all circumstances. And people are ***EXCEEDINGLY*** careless with their mobile phones. How many people don't have their PC, which sits in their locked house, remember forms data/passwords, but have a stupid app on their phone that shoots straight to all of their email accounts without so much as a password?

Power users will be power users, but for generalized security laws, the user is their own worst enemy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably even more vulnerable. It's similar to the old adage: "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client" -- if someone is so sure of themselves that they feel they are immune to social engineering methods for bypassing security, they are at even more risk.

Bias (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204558)

I don't get it: everyone bashed Apple when its iPhone lacked certain features (multitasking, cut and paste, enterprise security) but not one peep when Android or Windows Mobile lacks these very same features.

Re:Bias (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204738)

That's because Android has been blessed by the Church of Open Source. It isn't held to the same standards. It's a religious thing, you know. ;-)

Re:Bias (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204862)

That's because Android has been blessed by the Church of Open Source. It isn't held to the same standards. It's a religious thing, you know. ;-)

No, it's a practical thing. With Open Source, if one of the clouds is missing from paradise you can add it. Or wait until some team of team of fanatics in their monastery do so and then import a copy.

Re:Bias (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204788)

They are all consumer phones with nothing serious for business use. Motorola and Samsung are crying because the corporate world doesn't want to keep it's calendars and contacts on Googles servers. They've made their bed now they can lie in it. They will have to diverge significantly from the Google kool-aid in order to implement anything workable for business. Android phone users are consumers just like Apple phone users are. You must be new here, if you think this post is more biased than any other post.

Re:Bias (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204886)

Both iPhone and Android have activesync support on the handsets. They are used in business, and are replacing BES devices. I say are because we have replaced about 20 devices in the last year.

Re:Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205242)

Yep. My G1 (which came out in 2008) fully supported Exchange on Froyo.

Actually I take that back... IIRC the remote wipe operation was silently ignored.

Re:Bias (3, Informative)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204802)

I don't get it: everyone bashed Apple when its iPhone lacked certain features (multitasking, cut and paste, enterprise security) but not one peep when Android or Windows Mobile lacks these very same features.

What? Android *does* have excellent multitasking, as well as decent cut and paste. I'm not sure about enterprise security, but I think people have blasted Android for not having it, if it doesn't.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Re:Bias (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205610)

What is funny is that the Exchange security has been addressed by a solid Android app: Touchdown. This app encrypts all data, even files present on the SD card, supports remote wipe, enforces Exchange's permissions, and does what enterprises need for enforcing security.

There is only one item missing from Android, and that is device encryption, and encrypting data (not just the .apk stuff) on the SD card.

Google can easily address this -- LUKS or EncFS for the SD card, store the key in /etc, perms 066.

Re:Bias (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204850)

The iPhone at launch lacked ALL of those things, Android lacked ONE, one that only corporate IT departments care about. As for Windows Mobile, isn't that dead already, replaced by a new iPhone wannabe that has been pretty thoroughly ridiculed here on Slashdot for including all the flaws and none of the desirable features of the original iPhone?

Re:Bias (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205642)

I beg to differ. The iPhone at launch had a lot of good items, but it didn't have in iOS 1.0:

1: Cut and paste. This didn't come until 3.x. (IIRC)
2: Third party apps.
3: Device encryption.
4: More than token Exchange support.

Android came with a bunch of things, and the improvements were more incremental than anything else. Of course, Android did not have Exchange support, but third party companies (NitroDesk and DataViz come to mind) promptly addressed that.

Neither phone OS was shipped perfect. Both are adding features and useful things as time goes along.

Re:Bias (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205154)

I don't get it: everyone bashed Apple when its iPhone lacked certain features (multitasking, cut and paste, enterprise security) but not one peep when Android or Windows Mobile lacks these very same features.

I get your point, although Android doesn't fit it as well as Windows Phone 7 does.

I saw the Windows Phone get blasted for these exact points on several fronts. If you didn't notice it on Slashdot, it's likely because the reasoned critics were drowned in the sea of rabid anti-everything Microsoft blather that makes up such a large chunk of posts here. Note that, depending on topic, you could replace "Microsoft" with "Apple" and have it be equally true.

Android does seem to get a free pass on a lot of items, though - at least around here. Reasoned criticisms get modded flamebait and/or just get drowned out in the "Free means never having to say you're sorry" nonsense that sometimes runs rampant. I think Android is getting there, myself - but, having tried it, I do think it's still rough around the edges. But trying to get that statement across is often akin to arguing with someone who thinks the Linux desktop environment is perfect - you'd think you'd just kicked somebody's dog.

Isn't the order wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204566)

That last one should be first.

Re:Isn't the order wrong? (0)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204618)

No, if you tell the android to destroy itself or to destroy you, it should respond calmly, "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Users are morons. (0)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204596)

This order sounds right.

For those of us who know what we're doing, sure this is offensive.

For those who decide that spending 99cents on Justin Bieber wall papers that also snoop on their private conversations, that's a different story.

Re:Users are morons. (2)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204810)

This order sounds right.

For those of us who know what we're doing, sure this is offensive.

For those who decide that spending 99cents on Justin Bieber wall papers that also snoop on their private conversations, that's a different story.

See, no vision, this is the problem in america. If you really want to snoop people's private conversation, you make the wallpaper free!

Re:Users are morons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205298)

But that's how you make the rich targets suspicious. To their minds, only crap stuff is free.

It's bizarre. By charging more money you can sometimes reach a larger audience.

Don't worry (1)

1001011010110101 (305349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204606)

They are going to get rooted anyway,and also, Motorola is known for looooooooooong release cycles for patches so it will stay that way.

I'm sorry, Dave (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204616)

"The device must protect the user, protect itself, and obey the user, in that order."
In that order? Really? So, if you try to upgrade your phone, your existing phone will (in accordance with "protect itself") attempt to sabotage your purchase? "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't let you do that."

3 laws o Robotics sounds like the 99^99 laws of US (2, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204624)

Protect the user,"Ok, you can't do drugs, avoid paying car insurance, speed in your car, or bring a diet pepsi on a plane"
Protect itself: Self explanitory
Obey the user except when the user wants to do something that can cause harm to the user.

Re:3 laws o Robotics sounds like the 99^99 laws of (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204828)

Obey the user except when the user wants to do something...

Fixed that for you.

Laws in wrong order on purpose? (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204638)

Was not one of the inherit flaws with the Three Laws, that it brings up the issue of whether robots are treated as thinking tools or mechanical people?

Maybe it's hard to personify a 4-inch rectangle of glass and plastic, but at a certain point could we be asking an intelligent being (of circuits) to sacrifice itself at our whims of hackery? Could bricking a device be considered murder?

Clearly, Motorola is on the forefront of robot rights.

Re:Laws in wrong order on purpose? (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204710)

I have always followed a rule for programming or hardware chicanery:

If it asks me to stop, I stop.

So far, so good.

Re:Laws in wrong order on purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204748)

Was not one of the inherit flaws with the Three Laws, that it brings up the issue of whether robots are treated as thinking tools or mechanical people?

Maybe it's hard to personify a 4-inch rectangle of glass and plastic, but at a certain point could we be asking an intelligent being (of circuits) to sacrifice itself at our whims of hackery?

No, that's why "protect itself" is above "obey the user". Instead, you'll have a device that not only knows everyone you know, but can *contact* them deciding how best to "protect" itself. In other words: try to jailbreak, and you may *need* to IRL jailbreak after your phone calls the cops (or sends your GF those Vegas photos, etc)...

Re:Laws in wrong order on purpose? (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205396)

The Three Laws stories, as I recall, explored interactions between the "three laws" themselves, and situations where obeying them led to contradictions. In particular, the R. Daneel Olivar stories questioned, "how do you determine whether a person is a (sufficiently advanced) robot following these directives, or simply a Good human being.

The question "is bricking a device considered murder", it brings many of the other staples of AI science fiction: if you activate a backup of an AI, is it a separate being? (the Clone issue) What qualifies as 'murder' when you can totally restore the victim? What qualifies as "mind control", and what are the limits? Is Harlie v2.0 the same being as Harlie 1.0?

In truth, I think that if we got to the point of your iPhone being considered an actual intelligence with rights of its own, we'd be far beyond where "bricking" would be politically acceptable corporate behavior.

Stupid (3, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204646)

Everybody remembers the famous 3 Laws of Robotics.

Nobody seems to remember that the stories were about how they failed over and over due to unintended consequences and and loopholes, for example robots are able to break them if they don't know they're doing so.

Re:Stupid (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204994)

User: (tries to call his girl friend)
Phone: I can't let you call this number. I'm designed to keep damage from you. My integrated medical devices noticed changes in your cardiovascular system when you call this number. Your pulse and blood pressure increase. High blood pressure is a well known risk factor for heart deceases and apoplectic stroke. I have to conclude that calling this number cannot be good for your health.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205318)

I would pay good money for that feature.

Waiting for Google (2)

jmuzz (1953550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204658)

Isn't the whole idea with Google making it open source that manufacturers will contribute their own improvements to the main release? Or contribute cash for Google to allocate more programmers onto the features they would like? Instead they seem to be whining that Google isn't working on the free product they benefit from fast enough, then going off in their own direction creating proprietary code for themself which just messes up the whole open source idea.

Re:Waiting for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205402)

Google doesn't make it open source, the OHA does; and many of the companies do openly contribute to AOSP. There's this huge fallacy on Slashdot that Google is the only one who manages and develops Android.

Knew this was day was coming... (0)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204744)

...when your phone was going to require antivirus/malware tools. All this does is give Apple a bullet point with their walled garden approach.

Re:Knew this was day was coming... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205078)

Because malware could not make it into their walled garden?

Bullshit, these are the same folks that have had many apps get through claiming to be one thing but doing another. Like the camera app they pulled because it used a physical button. They also failed to catch the flashlight app that allowed tethering. These folks might have a walled garden, but they fail pretty bad at guarding it.

Re:Knew this was day was coming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205550)

That's because it's technically impossible to create an even halfway successful system which validates machine code for the architectures in play. Somewhere, deep inside Apple, the engineers know that their walls are a waste of time, but they must keep up the illusion to placate the stupid corporate purchasers.

Re:Knew this was day was coming... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205364)

With everyone rooting their phone, and people actively looking for open flaws to let you root the phone - not to mention every update closes the root hole...

I'd say that its less secure because the user makes it that way.

Of course, I can make my android 100% secure by never running anything on it.

This may be good for advertising, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204794)

I can see the ads already:

"Nearly 70 years after Isaac Asimov introduced the three laws of robotics... ...there finally exist ANDROIDS advanced enough to require them."

*Epic music plays along with montage of phone. It ends with the Android logo ominously fading into the screen.*

Has anybody ever read anything about 3 laws? (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35204804)

Robots always go on a rampage following the laws exactly or redefine the terms in the laws so they can do whatever they want.

Re:Has anybody ever read anything about 3 laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205164)

So what you're saying is...they are just like human beings.

3 laws of Android Phones (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204834)

1. An Android Phone may not exceed it's bandwidth or minutes for a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to exceed said bandwidth or minutes.
      2. An Android Phone must complete any call by human beings, except where such calls would conflict with the First Law.
      3. An Android Phone must obey it a human being as long as such obedience does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Serious question: Why only now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204908)

Why is phone security and user data encryption only be implemented now? Yes yes, RIM has done their their thing for half a decade now or so, but why has the industry been so lax on user encryption on smart-phones? Is jail-breaking, 'user-control' and the current 'swiss-cheese security' really the only way to make the industry get off it's ass when it comes to implementing standard data security practices? I mean, who really didn't see the need for encrypting user phone data 5-6 years?

Am I the only one thinking it wasn't necessarily put off deliberately, but late enough that the introduction of backdoors are most assuredly being considered and probably implemented for law enforcement bodies? Of course that's paranoia, right? I mean, for even the most basic of arrestable offenses, your phone can now essentially being used as a tool against you in a court of law.

Re:Serious question: Why only now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35205440)

This isn't security . This is corporate security. There's a difference. A very large, vast and often terrible difference.

It's myPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35204942)

I pay for a specific device, it's mine. Just like I pay for my car, it's mine, free to modify it as I need/want.
My advice for potential Android phone users, avoid Sammy and Moto.
There are companies out there who's phones are far better anyway.

Re:It's myPhone (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205438)

Except, you know, if you read the summary, it's not your phone; it is your employer's phone.

I know where this is going... (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205158)

if (protect the user obey user)
      return -1; // segfault?

Yep, we're doomed :)

Actually, until Android's are solar/nuclear powered, there's nothing to worry (cringes).

Except the order doesn't really matter. (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205236)

In Asimov's universe, the laws specifically mention the other directives, and precedence:

1 - A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2 - A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3 - A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The important part being: "except where such orders would conflict with ... X law".

I want obedience first... (1)

CarboRobo (1932000) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205262)

If I want to "damage" my phone I don't want anyone trying to stop me. Remind me not to buy Motorola again...

Lest We Forget (1)

Steneub (1070216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205514)

Most people forget the three laws are always presented as flawed. Something always happens and runs amok. The three laws are a great starting point, but they are incomplete.

Correct order, if rephrased (1)

Byrel (1991884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35205526)

Actually, this could be viewed as an updated version of the laws of robotics. One thing that was not explored in I, Robot was the modern, technically illiterate masses (or, end users). Do you really want robots to obey all of them?

In reality we would need some sort of hierarchy of obedience:
Obey the root above all else
Obey the operators if aligned with the root.
(dis)Obey the users

And it would be completely reasonable for a robot to be instructed to follow a user's perceived best interest above his command if he were far enough down on the totem pole. Indeed, this is what the First law does for all humans. I suggest allowing more leeway as the person becomes less competant.

And in the case of a mobile phone, the user's best interest is rarely served by a robot that throws itself across the room whenever its user is frustrated with the phones efforts to protect him from himself. Ergo, the robot, to protect him, must disobey him, and continue its own existence against its user's will. This will allow it to continue 'protecting' him from all manner of evil tethering, etc., and improve the users life.

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