The 20th Century: the Age of Anxiety

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The labeling of the 20th century as the ‘Age of Anxiety” is created by the common theme of someone using technology to obtain power over the common man. It is the uncertainty of what could happen that drives fear and paranoia as a common bond.

In Robbie, Mrs. Weston states quite bluntly, “I won’t have my daughter entrusted to a machine-and I don’t care how clever it is. It has no soul, and no one knows what it may be thinking.” She is uncertain how the metal robot works and this causes her to be skeptical of its motives and fearful that it may malfunction, potentially harming her child.

Throughout the film I Robot, the fear is that the main computer is taking over without regard for human life. To heighten the suspense and believability of the film, the main robot with emotions, struggles to gain the trust of the main character, played by Will Smith. Will Smith is a prime example of the human mistrust because of the controlling central computer. His skepticism shows when he hears the CEO of the robot company say, “Robots are the new advancement in safety technology.” He follows it by pretending to sneeze and saying he is allergic to bullshit. In order to create the semblance of an orderly society, the robots have three laws they must follow. The three laws are: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by the human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first of second law. When the main computer starts to interpret these laws freely, human kinds’ safety is threatened. Sonny, the robot, is built without these laws of restriction in order to think like a human and portray emotion. Even with these human traits, he is feared by more people than the robots with the laws because he has nothing to abide by.

In Smart House, the...
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