Robotics and Humanity
In the movie I, Robot, the definition of humanity is a major theme. More specifically, whether or not robots (particularly Sonny) can be considered human is a large focus of the film. This paper will prove that Sonny matches multiple definitions of the human condition and can therefore be considered a human. The first theory Sonny matches is Irvin Yalom’s theory of the human condition. He also shows characteristics that are featured in the empathic theory of humanism. He is also an embodiment of the functionalist definition of humanity. Since Sonny embodies the core ideas of all these philosophies, he must be considered human.
Yalom’s theory of what makes a being human is based on four ideas: that humans are subject to physical deterioration, are born isolated and seek to build relationships, are subject to freedom, and desire to find a meaning to life, or a motivation to continue to exist. Sonny embodies all of these characteristics. Concerning physical deterioration, while Sonny may be able to outlast a human in terms of life span, his body would over time lose structural integrity and deteriorate. Sonny was also created (or born) without any relationships, but throughout his existence sought to build relationships, including a paternal relationship with Dr. Lanning, and his friendships with the protagonists (Del and Susan). At the end of the movie, Sonny’s main dilemma is figuring out what to do without a primary objective. This is a perfect example of how he is subject to freedom, as he is not programmed to perform a specific task, nor is he ignorant of the fact that he does not have one. As for the search for life’s meaning, Sonny’s search for identity and purpose after he fulfilled his primary directive (killing Dr. Lanning) is a perfect example of the human characteristic that is searching for the meaning of life. He finally settles on helping his fellow robots attain freedom, which becomes his drive to continue living his life....
Cited: HZT4UR (ND). Functionalist View. Retrieved from: http://hzt4ur.wikispaces.com/Functionalist+View+of+Human+Nature
HZT4UR (ND). Empathic View. Retrieved from: http://hzt4ur.wikispaces.com/Empathic+View
Irvin, Yalom (1980). Yalom’s Ultimate Concerns. Retrieved from: http://changingminds.org/explanations/needs/ultimate_concerns.htm
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