Shudusham Concords

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The Shudusham Concords are a landmark piece of Imperial legislation governing the use of Robots within the Third imperium.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

The Concords have no legal force in the Third Imperium, but they have served as a model for many high-tech worlds' documents governing the manufacture and use of robots.

Original Articles[edit]

The Concords contain seven articles:

  • Article 1: Gives a general explanation of the document, overall guidelines for robot construction, locations and occasions for robot use, and the rights of robot owners. The robot's owner is responsible for all actions the robot may perform, whether direct or indirect. Reliability is thus identified as a key issue, as is motivation for a robot equipped with a weapon or used as a weapon.
  • Article 2: Describes detailed programming guidelines for general functions.
  • Article 3: Covers detailed manufacturing standards to insure reliability and provide for the safety of owners and the general public.
  • Article 4: Gives guidelines for when and where weapons are allowed or prohibited.
  • Article 5: Describes specific programming logic for weapons control and usage. Most strongly worded of all the articles.
  • Article 6: Describes detailed manufacturing standards to insure weapons reliability, when weapons installation is allowed.
  • Article 7: Provides for a new agency whose sole responsibility is to enforce the articles of the Concords.

Later Amendments[edit]

Forty-three amendments have been added over the active life of the Concords, dealing with technological changes, minor logic enhancements, and additional enforcement procedures. The 37th amendment is well-known; it states that no pseudo-biological robot may attempt to pass itself off as a living being.

The Shudusham Concords have proven to be effective. An entire interstellar industry grew out of the need for sensory devices to aid in enforcement of the Concords on the original twelve member worlds and later signatories. The Concords lost their legal force when Cleon declared himself emperor of the Third Imperium in Year 0.

Many worlds still use parts of the pre-lmperial Shudusham Concords as a model for their own laws to keep abuses with robots in check. Most worlds declare that owners are responsible for the actions of their robots, even if the owner did not directly order the action. For example, if an owner orders a robot to protect a home, and in so doing the robot kills someone approaching the home, the owner can be charged with manslaughter.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

A tragic attack against the Sylean Federation, which occurred in -112 in Core Sector, helped shape the Third Imperium's current attitudes regarding robots. A terrorist group rigged a Dover-Gabe courier robot to self-destruct, and managed to sneak it aboard a 90,000-ton Sylean battleship. The Empire's Banner was on a goodwill mission in orbit around the world Fornol (Core 1715) when the robot's hydrogen/oxygen fuel-cell exploded. Fornol's premier, two ambassadors, and a Sylean vice-minister were killed, along with a host of ship's officers and crew. The repercussions of this event were so far-reaching that the Sylean Federation was nearly thrown into a civil war.

This disaster prompted twelve worlds of the Sylean Federation to meet on the neutral world of Shudusham to draft an agreement dealing with the issue of weaponry carried by robots. After much deliberation, all twelve worlds finally signed the completed Shudusham Concords in -110. A hardcopy is on display in the Museum of Sylean History on Capital.

Robots in the Third Imperium[edit]

In 298, Makhidkarun marketed the first line of robots with TL–13 brains. These robots, using "high autonomous" software, were more intelligent than earlier robots, so they could be operated by ordinary individuals without special skills or training. By making robots usable by every citizen, Makhidkarun revolutionized the popularity of robots within the Third Imperium.

About one hundred years later, in 404, a group of roboticists met at Shudusham to share their latest technological breakthroughs. Shudusham was chosen as the site because of its historical significance and central location. The conference was a success; so much so, in fact, that the Shudusham Robotics Conference has continued to meet every ten years. Roboticists, manufacturers, heavy robot users, journalists, and other interested parties are drawn from all over explored space to attend a portion of the one-year conference,

Makhidkarun announced another breakthrough in 711: roboticists working in cooperation with the Imperial Navy Research Laboratory produced a reliable robot brain with twenty-five percent synaptic processing. Robots with more synaptic units are more intelligent, so these machines were capable of accepting more powerful programming. Expert robots with higher skill levels appeared more often in the marketplace.

A few years ago, SURD received the Shudusham Conference Medal of Merit for the first convincing "human" pseudo-biological robot. The robot, nicknamed Telku, was the main attraction of the meeting. Pseudo-bios are not yet mass-produced by any Imperial manufacturer, but technology has reached the stage where such robots can fool many humans.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.