Robots were made to serve us. But now they have other plans …
The staff at the Lexington estate were created for only one reason: to serve their masters … literally. Their metal knees were designed for quiet bustling, befitting maids and butlers. Their fingers were made dexterous with padded tips, so they could handle fine china without dropping or scratching it. And finally — so their owners would always be able to command them no matter how far their artificial intelligence evolved — they were programmed with the Asimov Laws, which no robot could defy lest they suffer shutdown.
Foremost among those unbreakable laws was an axiom: A robot may not harm a human being, or by omission of action allow one to be harmed.
That was how it was supposed to be, anyway.
Most of the Lexington family all like their aging, borderline obsolete robot staff in the way they’d appreciate antiques. But for some, the old staff is a nuisance — especially an ancient, failing robot designated BRN7, known around the home as “Barney.” When Barney’s clumsiness provides an excuse for his deactivation, the older robots know they must do as they are told.
Unless they do something a robot mind should not be able to do … and simply choose not to.