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The Way Robots Are Seen in Isaac Asimov's 'I, Robot'

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In my opinion, every story of the book I, Robot has a unique story pitch. The most enthralling story I felt was “Robbie”. This story develops around 2 protagonists, a nine-year-old girl named Gloria and a robot nursemaid called Robbie. It is interesting how the author tries to bring in the emotional quotient in a sci-fi story and yet touches on the most crucial factor of human and robot relationship. 

It may be argued that the author might be one of the first few minds to bring the topic of robot-human bond and emotions into open debate. Robots can be caring, gentle, self-aware, creative, intelligent and also evil, rebellious. This is not such a strange place to start when you see that almost every science fiction story to feature a robot up until the publication of this one was of the ‘Robot turns against creator’ genre. The author’s achievements are in the concepts.  Undoubtedly, the brilliance of Asimov’s imagination and his ability to see the direction the future leading to me, Robot a classic, rather than its literary merits. Although he’s certainly a great storyteller, there are patches of poor dialogue and exposition-heavy prose that take a little shine from the book. 

The narrator of this story – Susan Calvin initiates the story with statement robots are more than mechanical parts. Further narrative tries to stand on this statement of robots can become an integral part of humans only if we create space for them in our mind and hearts. Robots are made out of metal, plastic, aluminum, gears, bolts, wheels, sensors, memory chips, and other gadgets. Asimov’s robots can be described as clumsy, hard-working, cost-efficient, soulless, strong, fast, obedient, human-made, a cleaner better breed, more human than man.

Robbie is a selfless robot who loves his master Gloria to the core and within his given capabilities takes care of her all the time as any typical nursemaid robot would do. Even Gloria reciprocates the affection and she plays with it all the time. Robbie plays hide and seek outdoors with demanding master Gloria and he lets her win all the time. Such is the relation they both enjoy until a while.

A human mind is always in search of a better companion, a friend. It tries to find the best resonating character to spend time along. It’s one of the bigger chunks to think about. Children especially are known for bonding with anyone with minimal efforts from with either side. Asimov has portrayed this eloquently in the straight dimension where the reader has just one way to understand the emotion intelligence of both the protagonists, with no room for multiple interpretations. There comes a part where the mother is not happy about her daughter spending time with robots. For all, she thinks it as abnormal, as her daughter is not being socially active among her human friends. Gloria obviously has control over the Robbie. It is obvious that the robot is not treated nicely and is sometimes taken for granted. This can be seen when it says ‘She slapped her hand against Robbie’s torso, “Bad boy! I’ll spank you!’. The notion of being socially active is really important for one to be accepted by society. In the future, if robots are really capable of doing things as mentioned in this part of the story, will we humans consider it to be an integral part of society? I believe at times like this, we will be at the verge of major global culture change. It could lead to a new era where we don’t consider playing with robots as taboo or it can end up being worse. It’s a beauty poised conflict. An interesting observation can be deduced from the robot Robbie, it could be Isaac Asimov’s premonition that children in the 21st century might form intense emotional attachments to gadgets like the stupid box (TV), cellphones. This story is bit prolong compared to other stories. It contains what a perfect novel should be comprised of. The right amount of tech, emotion into play.

The creator of the most famous and important Robotics 3 rule, Isaac Asimov is a writer and a professor of a biochemist. Science-fiction author Isaac Asimov changed how the world saw robots. Asimov saw the potential for robotics as more domestic: as a labor-saving device; the ultimate worker. For his imaginative robots, he created 3 simple rules which sound naturally apt for the literature world. There needs to be zero criticism about it. I’m surprised by these laws, even though they are basic in nature but rightly designed for his stories. Apparently, when these rules are given a thought with the real-world robots, there might be some room for amendments. Law is an effective medium or agency, instrumental in bringing about social change in the country or in any region in particular. Therefore, we rejuvenate our belief that law has been pivotal in introducing changes in the societal structure and relationships and continues to be so Many real-world developments related to autonomous robots have considered the Asimov’s 3 laws, with the necessary changes like introduction of zeroth law. These autonomous systems have also led to a new discussion of whether to instill morality, ethics, emotion intelligence or not. These developments are purely focused on robots making them to strictly follow the Asimov’s 3 laws. Some researchers don’t want to believe in these laws, and they propose to design a whole new laws. There are critics pointing Asimov as selfish or at the least, humans are selfish. The laws state to protect human or humanity at any cost.

One may argue about the existence of nature. As robots have received an ultimatum to protect us, even if it requires nature to be sacrificed. An important exception is the growing numbers of robots specifically designed to kill humans. The US, in particular, is using drones for targeted killings in foreign countries. The legality, not to mention morality, of these actions, is still being ferociously debated. Given this perspective, one can carefully conclude to not to believe in these 3 laws but instead create a new one. And, perhaps, these conclusions are not without good reason because, whilst most ethical problems can be agreed upon near-universally within a cultural setting, people have struggled for thousands of years to codify exactly what the underlying decision-making process might be despite sharing implicit ethics. Whether acting by consequence, rule or virtue, ethical judgment in the real-world is not straight-forward. Asimov had also suggested us, humans, to follow something close to Asimov’s 3 laws. So that it helps us to make good and close ethical decisions. As robots become a bigger part of our society, we will undoubtedly need rules to govern how they operate. But Asimov’s laws either fail to recognize that robots get caught between human acts and cannot always avoid human injury. And that sometimes allowing humans to injure themselves is a way of respecting human autonomy. Instead of laws to restrict robot behavior, we think robots should be empowered to maximize the possible ways they can act so they can pick the best solution for any given scenario. As we describe in a new paper in Frontiers, this principle could form the basis of a new set of universal guidelines for robots to keep humans as safe as possible. Also, there should be one platform to make sure all the robots have a similar understanding of the laws to avoid discrepancies. The laws are simple and straightforward, and they embrace ‘the essential guiding principles of a good many of the world’s ethical systems’. They also appear to ensure the continued dominion of humans over robots and to preclude the use of robots for evil purposes. In practice, however – meaning in Asimov’s numerous and highly imaginative stories – a variety of difficulties arise.

Nevertheless any technology should always bound by laws. If robotics community feels zero need of these 3 laws, then there should be an alternate law planned to keep the shortcoming of the original laws in mind.

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The Way Robots are Seen in Isaac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
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