Humans and Robots

Topics: Isaac Asimov, Three Laws of Robotics, Isaac Asimov's Robot Series Pages: 6 (2364 words) Published: January 3, 2008
Human views on Robots
The world often sees robots as a potential threat to citizens, whether through fear of something different or concern about economic risks (Bryfonski 50). However, through the words of Asimov in nine compelling short robot stories, he showed that human beings often misunderstood the robot actions in various situations. In I, Robot, Isaac Asimov made use of the short stories to connect the idea of human and robot interactions in this new futuristic civilization to show the helpfulness of robots and the need for more ethical, moral responsibility from mankind. In Asimov's book, the robot and character all have their own part. Throughout the stories, Dr. Susan Calvin is revealed as the world's only "robopsychologist". She investigates the behavior and thought of robots. She served as a metaphor for Calvinism. One major point was emphasized was predestination (Bryfonski 51). Predestination refers that God has foreordained every event throughout time without end, including the final salvation of mankind (Wikipedia). At the end of the book, she said, " I saw it from the beginning, when the poor robot couldn't speak, to the end, when they stand between mankind and destruction" (Asimov 272). It is possible that Dr. Calvin had predicted that the future of mankind would eventually comes to its end by the destructive force of machines. By putting Dr. Calvin into the story, Asimov showed the how of human and machine relationships is importance to him.

In one of the short stories, Robbie is positronic robot who is as innocent as Adam (Bryfonski 50). Robbie is controlled by the positronic brain. The brain illustrated the fundamental problem of original sin, natural depravity and the puritan works ethic (Bryfonski 50). Robbie is a mute but quick to respond robot. Base in the story, he is a babysitter for a little girl named Gloria through whom he later proved his trustworthiness to the family whereas in another story, Nestor (NS-2) is neither entirely good. He was created with weaken First Law of Robotic; which means robot cannot harm or allow human to come to harm (magazine???). To Asimov's eyes, Nestor represented the fallen innocent so in the end, he brought destruction upon himself (Bryfonski 50). One issue that generated a barrier between human beings and robots is the fear of robots itself, or also known as technophobia. Instead of taking an approach in featuring the theme where robots revolt against their creator like in any other science fiction series; Asimov held a belief that technophobia was a misplaced fear, and the majority of his works attempted to provide examples that robots could provide help to humanity and that one day robot and human can live together in harmony. (Wikipedia). In the first story, Isaac Asimov purpose was to introduce to the audience a simple heart touching story between human and machines connection. The Weston family purchased a robot nicknamed Robbie; his job is to serve as a nursemaid for their daughter Gloria. However, Gloria's mom is a type of person who follows others. She wanted to get rid of Robbie due to the fact that the neighborhood people considered him as dangerous and children are not allowed to go near her house in the evening (Asimov 11). This showed that Mrs. Weston's criticism upon Robbie is guided by those who surrounded her, and she cares more about her own public image than the happiness of her own daughter. Mrs. Weston saw Robbie as a soulless piece of machine; to her he was a dangerous thing for her little girl. Furthermore, Mrs. Weston becomes concerned about the effects a robot nursemaid would have on her daughter, since Gloria is more interested in playing with Robbie than with the other children. Mrs. Weston afraid that Gloria might not learn proper social skills (Asimov 10). Even though she does love Gloria with all her heart, but she is too protective of her own daughter. All of this hatred and discrimination would eventually lead to...

Cited: Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot. New York: Bantam Dell, 2004.
Bryfonski, Dedria (Editor). Contemporary Literature Criticism. 9 vols. Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, Michigan. 48422.
Bardi, Jennifer. "Invitation to Private Virtual Reality." The Humanist. November-December. 2006. Pages 44 –46.
Cerrito, Joann and Dimauro, Lauri (Editors). Modern American Literature. Volume I. St. James Press, Mi, Farrington Hills, 1990.
Clarke, Roger. "Asimov 's Law of Robotics, Implication for Information Technology." March 19, 2007.
Seiler, Edward. Isaac Asimov Home Page. <>.
"I, Robot." Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia.
Short, Sue. "The measure of a Man? Asimov 's Bicentennial Man, Star Trek 's Data, and being human" Extrapolation Summer, 2003: 209.
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