Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t synthetics placed aboard company vessels to oversee and protect company assets and interests - even before receiving their Special Orders via text?
Ash followed his orders - which were typed out in text. Which were Company orders - his program.
It's simply an order. It's not more a program than a clause in a contract that someone has to follow.
Possibly. That's Ridley take on one of the commentary tracks, though it's not something that's been born out on film. Parker sounded very surprised that Ash was a robot, and if such a policy was public it would breed suspicion and paranoia. Maybe not the best mood to foster on deep space crews, and it wouldn't be hard to work out who was the robot anyway. By the time of Aliens, synthetics were standard and everyone knew who the robot was.
Don't know how this is relevant to the discussion though.
My point is that people claim 'Ash was programmed to bring back an Alien'. My response to that is - 'No, he didn't need to be programmed; just ordered.' It's like Bishop was ordered (or rather was given 'specific instructions') by Burke to bring back the specimens in Aliens; Burke didn't program him to do it.