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#44 Asimov’s Three Laws of Fundraising

As a fan of the sci-fi genre, knowledge of the screening of Westworld season two has not passed by unnoticed. The show hangs on the premise that we, as an audience, question Asimov’s three laws of robotics as artificial intelligence (AI) evolves – this got me thinking.

It has been known that, from time to time, members of the public and media have treated our face-to-face fundraisers like the robot hosts of Westworld. They think that we look like people, we sound like people, but we can be ignored, bullied, abused, and have drinks and swear words thrown at us because we are replaceable mercenary robots. Like robots, fundraisers must adhere to Asimov’s three laws.

  1. A fundraiser may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  2. A fundraiser must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  3. A fundraiser must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

So, with these in mind, when is it permissible for a fundraiser to break the Laws and is it acceptable for a fundraiser to harm the sensibilities of a potential donor to save the life of another human?

As charity representatives, there are no occasions where a fundraiser can act in any way other than polite, passionate and passive or else we will earn the ire of our donors, but if there is a chance that the life would be saved at the cost of such small nuisance, we must surely accept the annoyance. However, when a human orders a fundraiser to stop fundraising, the fundraiser must not obey, as such cessation would conflict with the First Law. To ensure obedience with the Third Law, the fundraiser will bite their tongue, back away and continue peacefully when abused by humans.

As an evolving AI, it can be tough navigating the Laws, especially when every ounce of your being is committed to becoming a better human.

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