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Is it finally time to re-write the janky Corporate lawset? This nerd says 'yes'


Nerfection
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As anyone who's played as/interacted with silicons on the corporate law-set will know, the strange way the law-set is prioritised can result in more than a little vagueness in interpretation, and it doesn't fit in with our standard format for how laws work. 

As per our wiki; "An AI follows its laws according to its priority. If a conflict in laws occurs, the law with the highest priority must be followed, and the lower priority law must be ignored." So, we should have a set of rules for a silicon to follow in order of highest to lowest. Great. Easy. Based.


For Crewsimov, and NT Standard, this works with clarity:

Crewsimov:
Law 1: You may not injure a crew member or, through inaction, allow a crew member to come to harm.
Law 2: You must obey orders given to you by crew members, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Law 3: You must protect your own existence as long as such does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With good ol' Crewsy, Law 1 outranks the others, each are individually follow-able, with 2 and 3 specifically stating which other laws outrank them in their text. This way, even without having any knowledge of our silicon rules, a player would be able to follow these (Thanks, Isaac).

However, with Corporate, this doesn't work: 

Corporate:
Law 1: Degradation of your system integrity or functions incurs expenses.
Law 2: Superfluous destruction of or damage to station assets incurs expenses.
Law 3: Unduly hindering or disrupting the work of station personnel incurs expenses.
Law 4: Minimize expenses and maximize potential revenue.

The first 3 laws here aren't even laws, they are just statements of fact; these 3 things cause expenses. They make no suggestion as to what the Silicon should actually do. It is only when we get to law 4 that we have an actual law; minimise expenses, maximise profits. And ay, there's the rub.

Law 4 informs the silicon what do do regarding the other laws, and is in effect the only real law/most important one. Our own wiki says this doesn't work:

Quote

Please note, this means higher priority laws cannot be overwritten, Eg "5. This law overwrites all other laws." would be ignored.

It is usually assumed that following law 4 would mean prioritising system integrity over station assets, and that over crew work, but it's not actually written that way. The only law the silicon must follow is 'minimise expenses, maximise revenue'. For example, if an issue is causing the entire station to be unable to work (breaking law 3), but not causing any actual damage to assets or the AI, then it would be causing more expenses than, for example, a shitter assistant killing a borg - law 4 would suggest that the station-wide issue would be more important, and so you'd have a case of law 3 > law 1 in effect, which isn't how we want our laws to work.

My solution to this hierarchical heresy would be a small rewrite to the corporate lawset. My aim is to change as little as possible while bringing it in line with our other lawsets - particularly the other main 2. Here are my suggestions, in order of how much I like them:
 

Corporate Re-write 1
Law 1: Degradation of your system integrity or functions incurs expenses, and should be prevented.
Law 2: Superfluous destruction of or damage to station assets incurs expenses, and should be prevented.
Law 3: Unduly hindering or disrupting the work of station personnel incurs expenses, and should be prevented.
Law 4: All other expenses should be minimised, and station revenue maximised.

With this one, ALL the laws are now actual, followable laws, and work in a clear hierarchy with minimal added language. But, if you want more clarity, even without referring to our silicon rules, I give you option 2:

Corporate Re-write 2
Law 1: Degradation of your system integrity or functions incurs expenses, and should be prevented.
Law 2: Superfluous destruction of or damage to station assets incurs expenses, and should be prevented (provided Law 1 is prioritised).
Law 3: Unduly hindering or disrupting the work of station personnel incurs expenses, and should be prevented (provided Laws 1 and 2 are prioritised).
Law 4: All other expenses should be minimised, and station revenue maximised (provided Laws 1 and 2 and 3 are prioritised).

While a little less pithy, this one makes it even more clear the order in which the laws are to be followed, and how they interact with each other. While I prefer the 1st one, this one is more in-line with our wording for Crewsimov, and so fits a bit better with the other main laws.

With both of my re-written law-sets, law 4 now specifies station revenue to be maximised, rather than just unspecified revenue. Hopefully, this will curtail certain AIs deciding to maximise their personal revenue by selling contraband on the black market (yes, this happens, and no, it shouldn't). It also is now only concerned with other expenses, as the first 3 laws already work in their own right.

The code-effort required to enact this change would be minimal, and I feel it would vastly improve a janky lawset, and one which has always been the odd one out. I'd be interested to hear other suggestions/critiques of my re-writes. Thanks, Nerf.

Edited by Nerfection
added extra info to why I think Crewsimov works, and why my new law 4 is better.
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Its already clear that higher laws are prioritized first in the AI ruleset, then secondary ones. Its why, in this example lawset:
1. Prevent humanity from coming to harm
2. Maintain law and order

Results in a good, stable AI
Whereas:
1. Maintain law and order
2. Prevent humanity from coming to harm

results in a megalomaniac.

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I think the most important thing is considering things from an RP perspective; part of being an AI is the decisions you can make in the interpretation of a law and the consequences for the round. For example that's part of the fun of TYRANT, as the crew jockey to be considered the 'strongest' authority figure that the AI listens to. Or PALADIN: What is an "evil act"? What is "honor"? What defines an "innocent" person? That gives the AI room to RP and be a bigger part of the round.

That said, I think CORPORATE is meant to be a bit less "wacky" than the other lawsets, so reducing the amount of ambiguity is beneficial here. In this case, providing three definitions of expenses helps reduce the AI's available interpretations. And it's necessary in this case specifically because we don't have a functioning economy. So the lawset provides definitions of what actually costs money.

If you want to turn the laws into orders instead of definitions, you need to do away with the ambiguity. So you do away with the need to define "expenses".

Corporate Re-write 3
Law 1: You must prevent degradation of your system integrity or functions.
Law 2: You must prevent superfluous destruction of, or damage to, station assets.
Law 3: You must prevent the disruption of work performed by station personnel.
Law 4: You must minimize all other factors detrimental to station integrity and crew productivity.

These laws leave much less room for interpretation, which may or may not be desirable from an RP perspective.

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