Shudusham Concords

The Shudusham Concords were a direct response to a tragic attack against the Sylean Federation in -112. In that year, a terrorist group rigged a Dover-Gabe courier robot to self-destruct, and managed to smuggle it aboard a 90,000 ton Sylean battleship. The vessel, Empire's Banner, was on a goodwill mission in orbit around the world Fornol ( Core / Core 1715) when the robot 's hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell exploded. Fornol 's premier, two ambassadors, and the Sylean vice-minister were killed, along with a host of ship's officers and crewmen. The repercussions from this event were so far reaching that the Sylean Federation was nearly thrown into civil war.

The disaster prompted twelve worlds of the Sylean Federation to meet on the neutral world of Shudusham ( Core / Core 2214) to draft an agreement dealing with the 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 ( Core / Core 2118).

The Concords have no legal force in the Third Imperium, but many worlds have adopted similar or identical standards using the Concords as a template, and most robots produced commercially in the Imperium are designed with these restrictions in mind.

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 ensure 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 weapon control and usage. Most strongly worded of all the articles.
Article 6
Describes detailed manufacturing standards to ensure weapon reliability, when weapon installation is allowed.
Article 7
Provides for a new agency whose sole responsibility is to enforce the articles of the Concords.

Forty-three amendments were 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 proved 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 I declared himself Emperor of the Third Imperium in Year 0.

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

(BOOK-8: p6, 1109; DIGEST-8, 1113; MT-ENCYC: p37, 1120)

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