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Communism & associated tangents

Count Darvaleth

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#1
Hello CN,

Before I put up my reasons for believing that a working Communist system is the best possible system for society (and my own system that only faces one real practical barrier) I'd like your opinions on the subject. Are there any fellow Socialists among you, or any ardent Commie-haters? Let me know your thoughts in general on the subject so I can gauge how to lay out my thoughts on the matter.

Feel free to be as extreme or passionate as you like; this is the Beast Within after all, and is made for such threads.

~ Darvy
 
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#2
Oh boy I dont like the looks of this thread but oh well. Communist govts have killed more human beings then any other throughout history. You cant achieve a utopian society with something as large as the USA for example. Totalatarian regimes only make the people suffer under a dictator often times psychopath. Complete freedom is the way to go with very little if any govt intrusion. Let the people sort it out in their communitys. I seriously doubt you have studied communism in depth if you are embracing it or something worse is going on in youir head.
 

Chaos_Born

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#3
I wouldn't say that I was a communism hater, just a realist. It is a lofty ideal that cannot be achieved, for one simple reason. There are many people that are greedy, conniving bastards that try to do everything they can to get on top in the world. In a communist society there will always be those that will manipulate the situation to get on top, breaking the system. In order to stop this you would need to heavily police everyone, taking away almost all of their freedom.

It may be the greatest ideal and a dreamy system full of rainbows and fluffy rabbits, but it doesn't work in practice. Although if you have your own spin on it that can deal with bastards while not suppressing people, please feel free to let us know.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#4
@ Shadow: On the contrary; you suggest I have not looked at Communism in depth, yet you show me that perhaps this might be true of yourself. Communism itself has not killed people, and neither have Communist governments; the massacres that took place in, for example, Soviet Russia, were performed not by a Communist government, but a bastardised Proletarian dictatorship which went horribly awry.

The Proletarian dictatorship is the first step to Communism as laid down by Marx, but what was born out of Stalin's paranoia was not a Proletarian dictatorship devoted to pursuing quasi-Socialism then true Communism, but an altogether different beast. That is why I would contend your point concerning deaths caused by "Communist governments".

Please note that none of this is meant personally, and I apologise if I cause any offence; I'm sure that we can discuss the matter maturely and academically without it getting (too) personal. :thumbsup:

EDIT: Ninja'd:

Chaos_Born said:
Although if you have your own spin on it that can deal with bastards while not suppressing people, please feel free to let us know.
In good time, in good time. xD
 
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#5
Here are my thoughts:
1. Freedom and total equality are mutually exclusive. The same is true of equality and total freedom. Therefore, total communism may not be achieved without the giving up of all freedoms (though more moderate communism could work)

2. If I can guarantee getting the same as everyone else, what is there for me to strive for? Why should I bother trying to get that better job, when all I'll get is TV, food, a house and the odd bit of spending money no matter what?

More later, need to go now...
 

Count Darvaleth

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#6
spineyrequiem said:
Here are my thoughts:
1. Freedom and total equality are mutually exclusive. The same is true of equality and total freedom. Therefore, total communism may not be achieved without the giving up of all freedoms (though more moderate communism could work)

2. If I can guarantee getting the same as everyone else, what is there for me to strive for? Why should I bother trying to get that better job, when all I'll get is TV, food, a house and the odd bit of spending money no matter what?
Luckily I have thought of both these issues already. Let me explain:

1) I think the problem here is the idea of mutual exclusivity of freedom and equality. I agree that to a certain extent the two concepts don't exactly come hand-in-hand; there are few areas of the world where we can say this might be true, in fact. However, I believe that in the perfect Communist society, you would have a great deal of freedom, but not total freedom; just like today, you can't shoot somebody in the head. An extreme example, I realise, but a comparison I just wanted to draw. As for equality, it would be almost total equality; I will explain this below. This compromise, of not complete UTTER equality and not TOTAL freedom is the best balance, I think.

2) The incentive is NOT for pay. Money, I believe, is a corrupting force. In the system I will eventually get around to formalising, money would not exist; you would be furnished with the things you absolutely need to survive, then the government would issue you with tokens, or credits, to purchase other things you want; here there is freedom, because you can choose an Xbox rather than a new pair of shoes, or something like that. The equality is here also; everybody gets the food, electricity, water etc. that they need, then the same number of tokens. How then, do I plan to provide an incentive?

The incentive comes from a system which was in fact implemented, to a small degree, in Russia. If you work harder, you get benefits from the government; not money, but things like paid holidays, or free tickets to a great performance, or something like that. How do you plan to keep equality of opportunity across the various professions? I have thought of this too. These "bonuses" are not given to the top band of society, but the top band of EACH profession. The top percentile get a holiday, the next band get tickets to the theatre, next band free swimming lessons, and then eventually no bonuses. Here there is a clear, definite incentive to work harder, WITHOUT involving money.

How do you judge who's "better" than everybody else at sweeping bins, or teaching, then? Statistics. Data. I will cover how to make this work in my system, but for now you must give me the benefit of the doubt that these figures would be incorruptible and impossible to influence. A big ask, I know, but hopefully you will see why when I present the system.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#8
Because you don't handle any of it. You can't gain it in any way apart from from the state. You can't sell something to somebody else for some of their credits, you can't steal it, you can't amass it, you can't inherit it, you can't win it in a lottery, you can't find it in the street. It's entirely virtual and completely monopolised by the government (like everything, really!).

It would not be a currency; you just select something from a catalogue and the government gets it sent to you, you don't hand credits over at any point, you can't create more or use it in gambling, or anything like that.
 

Chaos_Born

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#9
Who's in charge of this government? Who's in charge of credit distribution? Who owns the warehouse full of catalogued goods? Unless you're planning on hiring Jesus into these roles, then you've got the fundamental issues of corruption creeping in here.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#10
Chaos_Born said:
Who's in charge of this government? Who's in charge of credit distribution? Who owns the warehouse full of catalogued goods? Unless you're planning on hiring Jesus into these roles, then you've got the fundamental issues of corruption creeping in here.
Therein lies the problem I will address (after I get some sleep!) that is the only barrier facing my proposed system. A lofty statement, but an equally lofty barrier, unfortunately. o_o
 

Raizi

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#11
First of all, thank you for opening an interesting topic! I must warn you, tl;dr incoming!

I think communism in itself, on paper is the perfect solution. If it could happen in a vacuum, without anyone breaking the rules, this world would have a better future. I have to agree that it would be the best governing system currently available if not for human nature.

But human nature is greedy. Everywhere you go, in any country, usually the more people will get power the more they will abuse it. They start with small things, small perks for oneself and to those close to you. If this can go on, they try to take more. Everyone has their own agenda, some want to support those that have supported them or some simply want to have all the toys for themselves. It makes no difference. As soon as someone uses the system to bleed out the resources for their own gain, it is ruined. And for own gain I mean anything that violates the communist ideology, taking something out from the system that doesn't belong to you.

This is just the core principle most people will behave upon. It'a really hard to root out what would be the best cure for this. Education is one, but then again there is education and...education Again, it would seem that people from poor conditions, without education are equally capable of sharing the commong good.

Bottom line is, that I think it takes a really strong individual to not succumb to the lure of power. Communism in itself creates a vacuum of power for any individual with means to step up and start abusing the system for it's own personal gain. This just leads to a reallocation of the top 1% wealth, but not to the general public, but to different people, creating a brand new top 1%.

I think communism works best in small communities. Families, neighborhoods, villages. Anything larger than that creates huge problems. When certain people are given the choice to receive benefits without having to see what the cost is (as it is in larger countries) they will always pick the benefit. When you have to make a decision in a smaller community where you have to live with the impact of your choice, it is easier to make the right decision and support the greater good.

I don't know if I'm a communist or what. I would never vote or support communism because of the abovementioned reasons. I still think it is something to strive for if we want to progress from the state we are from now. It's just really hard to see that it would happen until something is completely rewritten in the core human nature.

Therefore I think that currently Democracy is the lesser evil in a list crappy choices for governing systems.
 
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#12
I'm afraid that, at least in the 19th Century, communism in small groups did NOT work. Can't find in my notes who it was, but there was one chap who was the 19th Century equivalent of a hippy (fond of free love etc.) and kept on setting up communes, each one of which failed due to various things, the most important being human greed, human laziness and being a closed community (so in the events of bad harvests or similar they were essentially stuffed). Note that these were educated people getting involved, certainly in the leadership roles.
 

Raizi

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#13
spineyrequiem said:
I'm afraid that, at least in the 19th Century, communism in small groups did NOT work. Can't find in my notes who it was, but there was one chap who was the 19th Century equivalent of a hippy (fond of free love etc.) and kept on setting up communes, each one of which failed due to various things, the most important being human greed, human laziness and being a closed community (so in the events of bad harvests or similar they were essentially stuffed). Note that these were educated people getting involved, certainly in the leadership roles.
You sure it was 19th century? Not 20th century?

I'm not saying it works, per se. I just think that it works best with smaller communities. Usually these need to be somewhat self-sufficient communities. High education is no guarantee that things will work out. Usually those people lack the basic skills needed for any manual labour. Someone needs to slaughter the pigs, someone needs to prepare the food. Someone needs to sow the clothes, etc. I think uneducated people would work best in these kind of communities, as if someone is educated then that in itself creates inequality. (This is again a thought that lives in a vacuum)

Where communism fails in modern society is that people who have read a few books think that it's an easy way to get stuff without actually doing anything. And here we come back to the basic trait that ruins communism as an idea.

Greed.

"I want benefits without making any effort in producing them."

People think that communism is just giving the lowest tier person of the capitalistic hierarchy the same privileges that the highest ranking people enjoy. When the exact opposite is true: no one gets to enjoy any sort of benefits, everyone gets their equal share.

When I worked as an office manager for a few years, I had an employee who was a devout communist and supported all the ideas that have been discussed here mainly by the op. It was plain to see why he would like to live in a world like that as he was the laziest worker I have ever seen in my life and I'm not making this up.

He really wished for the world where he could have the easy way out, without having to strain himself too much to get some cream for his coffee.

I utterly despised him.
 
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#14
The only system that everyone can live up to there potential or utterly fail is a free society with no Govt intervention. There is no utopia because of the greed factor and hundreds of other reasons. There is something utterly wrong with taking from succesful people, people who busted there ass to get somewhere and giving it to "less fortunate" which many times means unmotivated and lazy. As far as people with serious illness, disability, or old age, their family, friends, and communities , churches, etc should be taking care of them because its the right thing to do. The ones who have nobody well thats where nonprofits, churchs, and local communities should get together and help them. No one should be forced even though that seems unfair. When evryone is "equal" there is no motivation for improvement, no innovation. The US is a perfect example of something that started out as the perfect Govt and now full of people sucking on the govt teet. Race is not a factor here even though the news would make you think so. ANYONE can succeed here if they work their ass off. Many choose not to.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#15
Very briefly:

@ Raizi: You talk about needing education, and a need for an incorruptible leader. As for the first point, even in Soviet Russia where it went horribly wrong, the literacy rates of EVERYBODY rose from 40-odd percent to nearly 98% in a few years (can't remember the exact dates). Education was in fact one thing they did well. As for a leader with no vice, I will address that in my system...

@ Spiney & Raizi: You say that small communities failed and that large communities could never work? Apart from lacking solid evidence (no offence, of course!) I can actually disprove the latter completely. Cuba; communist, and with one of the highest happiness ratings, which is gathered by the UN and NOT the Cuban government, across the entire world. I'd say that's a more-or-less working example.

@ Shadow: No government intervention whatsoever? Just nothing at all? That sounds like anarchy to me. We didn't have a government when we were cavemen, sure, but by all accounts it wasn't so nice back then. Heck, with nothing in control what's to stop a rich man buying private security forces and seizing control of a swathe of a country and establishing his own state? What about all border control? Law? Public services? I can understand a wish for a free-market (I have entertained the idea and can see its merits) but a completely free Earth...? I'm not sure that's possible.
 
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#16
I personally, am an anarchist, but not the extreme violent punk variety... let me explain.
Anarchy, of course, just means the 'rule of all' as opposed to a monarchy 'the rule of one'. The way I see a fair society would be an extreme form of Democracy. Where there is no political parties, and everybody votes on what they should do in their local area, and also on worldwide issues. To stop everybody spending their entire time voting, they could vote on a regular basis (say once a quarter or so) for somebody from their area to go to 'parliament' (bad word I know) and vote on issues on a countrywide basis.

And to make sure people are dedicated, for every month that they don't vote (using a month here for arguments sake) then they cannot vote in the next one.

In terms of what I feel is the most fair historical society, you just have to read the Icelandic Saga's for an example. Everybody was equal (except slaves), they could all own land, they could all sell whatever they produced, they could all go a viking, and once a year they all gathered at the all thing to decide on matters of state etc. They then had local things for deciding local matters.

In terms on Communism, I feel it could work very nicely, and has worked on a small scale for limited amounts of time. However, you would have to introduce a system whereupon, nobody can stay in power for any length of time without the majority vote of the general populace.

Anyway, that's just my opinion of things. I don't think we can go bandying around words of communist corruption though, without looking at our own democracies (the expenses scandals here in the UK spring readily to mind).

And just remember kiddies, it wasn't communism that killed all those Russians and Chinese, it was a dictator.

Cheers, Monkey

P.S. I would be veeery interested to hear what you variant of Communism is Darvy.

EDIT: In terms of dictators getting power and using 'show trials' to get rid of their political opponents, you really do need a system whereupon the jury for said trial are randomly selected from the populace at large. And that their decision overrides that of a Judge etc. I feel that the only fair way to try a man are with a group of his peers. Not some balding bloke in a wig who wins out by having a greater knowledge of the extremely complex laws than everybody else. (Apologies to any Judges who may frequent these forums, it's nothing personal).
 

The Archivist

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#17
Communism as with any system would work perfectly in theory. However, there is one thing that it lacks.

Any society must attempt to keep to six important points to thrive:
1. A Core Morality
2. A Drive to Perfection
3. Innovation
4. Information
5. Compromise
6. Sense and Simplification

If you want I can go into greater detail, but my main problem with communism is that it has little innovation or drive to perfection. Without these it stagnates, with little incentive to push for better and better conditions, and is vunerable to changes in circumstances without the innovation to surpass it.
Socialism works as part of a whole, but on its own it suffers at the hands of fate and apathy. Any system that works along communist lines cannot be pure communism.

I have my own ideas about state and government, but unless you request them this is not the place to expound them.
 

Chaos_Born

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#18
Please do go into further detail Archy, I'm intrigued by your points.

Also Monkey's Uncle, who are these parliamentary suggestions going to if there's no government?
 

The Archivist

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#19
I really think that if we as humans stick to these points, it will be the best means of improvement and development. Ironically, I don't think there is a government today which fits every point on here, and although I have my own ideas, even they aren't the ideal.

Principles of my Ethos:
• Core Morality: The core morality is the ethical boundaries that prevent tragedy and suffering. It is that which is essential for enjoyable contact between people, and the enjoyment of life.
• Drive to Perfection: Ideals are not just for guidance, but are to be strived for. Even when it seems acceptable, continuing working towards the goal prevents stagnation and improves the quality of life.
• Innovation: New ideas and approaches are essential for preventing stagnation, showing up problems and finding new, better solutions.
• Information: Being informed allows choices to be made with better decisions, is healthy and exciting for the mind and leaves problems kept on top of.
• Compromises: Although problems often become polarised, the ideal solution satisfies both sides. Keeping the balance aids this goal.
• Sense and Simplification: Complexity can lead to paradox, confusion, stagnation, false justification and unchanging conditions. Common sense and reasonable simplification makes everything achievable.

The actual idea for a government has three different sections to it, but it's too long to explain here.
 

Mad 'At

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#20
I can agree with most of what has been said previously, communism is great on paper, doesn’t work due to greed. Here is my view on it.

I want everything to be fair, everyone should be equals. The whole idea that some people live less good lives is quite staggering to me, and I don't want it to be that way. Capitalism is great, it works, pretty much by itself. But it will never lead to everyone being equals. It builds one some people being "better" than others, who therefore can do something good and get rewarded by doing so (money). But we are all unique, we are all born with different genomes, and with different upbringing (and lots of other differences like culture and wealth). These things all effect who we are, and who we are determines how "good" we are, and I'm not just talking about brains and looks here, I'm talking about attitude and personalty too. Some people have personalities that are repulsive so to speak, they don't really fit and therefore can't make it as good in life as others. Why are they that way? Is it their fault? I don't think so, and therefore they should not have it any less good than others. Unless we can make it so that everyone has identical conditions, identical personalties and identical everything, capitalism will never result in a equal society (and if it was possible, that too would be horrible). That is bad, to have a society which not strives to make it good for everyone is bad if you ask me.

Therefore I would want a society which respects everyone for who they are and never treats you any different because of it. A society where everyone lives as good lives as they possibly can, without endangering the environment or overpopulating the earth. New technologies would help us improve the life qualities further, and that should be the motivation to work, to invent and to be creative. I'm not sure on how to reach this society, nor on how the details like government would look like. A quick change would inevitably result in chaos (pretty much what Marx said if I've understood things correctly), a prime example is Soviet. Therefore the solution would be small changes constantly taking us further to that utopia. Small changes would also have the benefit of we learning on the way how the details of this utopia would look like.

I feel that any society that doesn’t strive to evolve into something like this is a bad one. And I don't think any part of our society does, therefore I'm pretty pessimistic about politics in general. However I think that generic communism matches my view of a utopia pretty closely, so in conclusion, I'm a communist.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#21
I will outline the "variant", if you like, in a rather brash and unrefined manner, as I find it easier to simply put the idea out there then defend it on more specific points rather than slavishly write out every possible counter-argument in existence. xD

So, here it is:

As has been addressed here, man is not infallible. Man can be corrupted, and when a dictator takes control, things can turn disastrously wrong. That is why I propose removing man from the leadership equation; no government would exist, no parliament, neither a human autocracy nor a democracy. The Communist state would be organised and administrated not by man, but by machine.

Yes, I realise this sounds ridiculous. But entertain the idea for a moment, if you would. Instead of a vast, corruptible, bureaucratic body, you simply have a mighty super-computer; not just any super-computer, but an intelligent super-computer.

This may also sound ridiculous. However, I contend that the only obstacle which stands in the way of this system is the creation of this computer; a lofty barrier, but the only one. This computer would be able to do what humans cannot; make decisions based on ALL the evidence WITHOUT emotion or bias, having simulated the effects of every possible decision before choosing the best one. The computer would not be programmed to maximise production or the economy, but human happiness; it would not, as many sci-fi films portray, "eliminate the human factor". It would have sensory equipment EVERYWHERE in the country. It would be able to have ALL information and statistics available, and would use this information to make the best possible decision every time. It would ensure the distribution of food and resources remains equitable, and would be able to monitor every human via the chip implanted into them at birth to identify illness or other issues and despatch necessary medical material.

The computer's intelligence would not be some godly thing; it would analyse an event, then another event, then another; if all three are linked in some way (say, a virus kills three people and after the autopsies the computer finds all three bodies have the same micro-organism in their veins) then the computer will determine how to combat the event based on past experience and based on simulation. It wouldn't have to be "human" to recognise a military invasion; it would register the destruction of buildings/the presence of non-chipped armed personnel and would begin running defence protocols.

I realise it sounds far-fetched. I realise many of you have probably already stopped reading. But please, think about the idea; the only issue is the creation of the computer, and after that society becomes perfect. Even then, the graph of technological development in computers is exponential; even today we have machines which can recognise, say, one certain table, then look at other tables and identify these tables, which it has NOT seen before or been programmed to recognise specifically, as other tables.

But as I said, please do poke holes in this so I can hopefully provide a counter-argument. This has been put in a decidedly incoherent and untidy fashion and I much prefer to state my idea then enter into dialogue rather than drowning you in monologue to the point of boredom. :thumbsup:
 

Chaos_Born

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#22
What if it malfunctions and sets all of the food to ship to an oil rig in Scotland? What if someone learns to hack it and gains godlike powers over The System? If the computer is perfect and unassailable, would you hand your whole life and the lives of everyone you care for to a big machine? Because I wouldn't.

This is a nice idea Darvy, but I can't see any wway that, if such a computer were to be created, that man-kind would hand every aspect of their lives over to it.
 

Mad 'At

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#23
I like the idea of a super computer. Kind of like I Robot, but not so subtle (or possibly it could be subtle). I'm okay with it as long as the computer has the tree laws of robotic weird into its systems. That would even eliminate the need to program it to make us happy. Not trying its best to make us happy would be a direct violation to the first law, at least if you teach it to recognise happiness and its counterparts first.

(I like Isaac Asimov, he was a genius)

EDIT: Ninja'd! To answer the last question asked by CBorn I would say we don't have to know. In I Robot the computers control our entire economy and therefore they control everything. Part of being happy is to have control, the robots (and computers) would know this and therefore hide the knowledge of them being in charge from us in order to make us happy (this is also why the film is shit and the book rules). The computers would even consciously make small mistakes that it knows the humans who monitors its actions can correct, so that they become happy too. We would know that the computers existed but not that it controls all our lives to make everything around us perfect.

EDIT 2: Also most of the problems you pointed out CBorn would be solved by the three laws. No one could hack it and control it, the system would fry if it did not make us happy. The only problem would be system malfunctions, but that could be somewhat solved by back ups and several entities working together.
 

Count Darvaleth

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#24
Chaos_Born said:
What if it malfunctions and sets all of the food to ship to an oil rig in Scotland? What if someone learns to hack it and gains godlike powers over The System? If the computer is perfect and unassailable, would you hand your whole life and the lives of everyone you care for to a big machine? Because I wouldn't.

This is a nice idea Darvy, but I can't see any wway that, if such a computer were to be created, that man-kind would hand every aspect of their lives over to it.
As for the first two points, the idea is that the computer is perfect and infallible. I realise this makes it less possible practically (but still not impossible, I argue) but it means that the end result is indeed perfect and infallible as well.

As for the second points, nobody would force you to go to the country run by the computer. This is entirely based on choice; a new state would have to be established, somewhere, where the system can thrive and then eventually attract the rest of society into realising it is the best system. I certainly wouldn't advocate suddenly tearing down the government of, say, India, and then telling them that a computer will be running things from then onwards. It would be completely voluntary.
 

The Archivist

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#25
There is one problem with a super-computer mind: It could satisfy all but innovation. A computer cannot come up with new ideas or ways to apply those ideas unless it gains sentience, and if it gains sentience then the three laws would condemn him to slavery. If it gained sentience it would be a being capable of emotion and as such would be susceptible to corruption and vice just as any free sentience would be; if limits are imposed, it is slavery. One might as well condition a human mind to run the country and plug it into a pool of water.

If there was a way round this, it would have to come without sacrificing any other points.
 
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