With the inauguration coming up this Friday, I was reminded of another presidential campaign, not from the past, from the future.

In his book I Robot, Isaac Asimov wrote about a presidential election in the near distant future where one of the candidates accuses the other candidate of being a robot.

It would not have been so bad if the average individual were not torn between the enormity of the charge, if true, and the sensational folly, if false….The political campaign lost all other issues and resembled a campaign only in that it was something filling the hiatus between nomination and election.

While most people were against a robot president, not everyone shared that view.

I like robots.  I like them considerably more than I do human beings.  If a robot can be created capable of being a civil executive, I think he’d make the best one possible.  By the laws of Robotics, he’d be incapable of harming humans, incapable of tyranny, of corruption, of stupidity, of prejudice.  And after he served a decent term, he would leave, even though he were immortal, because it would be impossible for him to hurt humans by letting them know that a robot had ruled them.  It would be most ideal.

The issue of whether a robot can be president is probably not going to come up at least for another few election cycles, but as we saw last week in Europe with the voting on legal rights for robots, it might not be as far as we think.

Right now we should just be grateful that we will be inaugurating a human tomorrow.

If you like thinking about robot presidents, you will love my new book Ai Vey: Jewish Thoughts on Thinking Machines.  Order it today!