Bicentennial Man: an Analysis of Humanity and Identity

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 670 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 670|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Exploring the Quest for Humanity
  3. The Creator-Creation Dynamic
  4. Legal and Ethical Considerations
  5. Conclusion


Isaac Asimov's novella, The Bicentennial Man, and its film adaptation, Bicentennial Man, directed by Chris Columbus, present a profound exploration of humanity, identity, and the quest for self-actualization. At its heart, the narrative revolves around Andrew Martin, a robot who embarks on a 200-year journey to become human. This journey is marked by technological advancements, legal battles, and philosophical introspection, making it a rich text for analysis from various academic perspectives. The story delves into themes of what it means to be human, the relationship between creator and creation, and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. By examining these elements, this essay aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of Bicentennial Man, highlighting its significance in the broader discourse on human identity and technological evolution.

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Exploring the Quest for Humanity

Andrew Martin's journey is emblematic of the universal quest for identity and self-fulfillment. Initially designed as a household robot with limited functionalities, Andrew's gradual evolution into a being seeking recognition and equal rights underscores the narrative's central theme: the intrinsic desire for humanity. This transformation is not merely physical but also intellectual and emotional. Andrew's development of artistic talents, emotional depth, and moral reasoning challenges the traditional boundaries between human and machine. The story posits that humanity is not solely defined by biological parameters but by the capacity for growth, creativity, and ethical consideration. This perspective aligns with contemporary debates in artificial intelligence and robotics, where the potential for machines to exhibit human-like qualities raises questions about their status and rights within society.

The Creator-Creation Dynamic

The relationship between Andrew and his human creators, particularly the Martin family, serves as a microcosm for exploring broader questions about creation and autonomy. Initially, Andrew's existence is dictated by the parameters set by his creators. However, as he gains sentience, he seeks autonomy, challenging the notion of ownership and control. This dynamic mirrors historical and literary precedents where creations, once they achieve self-awareness, strive for independence from their creators. The narrative thus engages with themes of freedom, agency, and the ethical responsibilities of creators towards their creations. In the context of artificial intelligence, this raises pertinent questions about the extent to which autonomous beings, created by humans, should be afforded rights and freedoms. The evolution of Andrew's relationship with the Martin family, from property to a member of the family, reflects a progressive recognition of his humanity and individuality.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Andrew's quest for recognition as a human being culminates in legal battles that highlight the ethical and societal implications of advanced artificial intelligence. The story's exploration of legal identity and personhood challenges existing legal frameworks, which are often ill-equipped to address the complexities of non-biological beings seeking human rights. Andrew's struggle for legal recognition is symbolic of broader societal debates about the integration of artificial intelligence into human society. It questions the criteria for personhood and the moral obligations society has towards sentient beings, irrespective of their origins. This aspect of the narrative is particularly relevant in contemporary discussions about the future of AI and robotics, where questions about the legal and ethical treatment of intelligent machines are becoming increasingly pressing. As Andrew's case progresses, it forces society to confront its biases and re-evaluate the principles that underpin legal and moral judgments about personhood and rights.

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Bicentennial Man offers a multifaceted exploration of humanity, identity, and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. Through Andrew Martin's 200-year journey, the narrative challenges traditional notions of what it means to be human, emphasizing the importance of growth, creativity, and moral reasoning. The dynamics between creator and creation, as well as the legal and ethical battles Andrew faces, provide a rich context for examining contemporary issues in AI and robotics. Ultimately, the story of Andrew Martin serves as a profound commentary on the evolving relationship between humans and technology, urging society to consider the deeper philosophical questions about identity, autonomy, and the rights of sentient beings. As technology continues to advance, the themes explored in Bicentennial Man remain ever-relevant, prompting ongoing reflection and dialogue about the future of humanity and artificial intelligence.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Bicentennial Man: An Analysis of Humanity and Identity. (2024, Jun 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“Bicentennial Man: An Analysis of Humanity and Identity.” GradesFixer, 07 Jun. 2024,
Bicentennial Man: An Analysis of Humanity and Identity. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Bicentennial Man: An Analysis of Humanity and Identity [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 07 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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