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Parasha: I Robot: November 6th reading

Oops, I just realized that it was time for the first Parasha section, and I'd forgotten about it. So for now I'm just putting this place up for discussion, I'll have to edit in any summaries/comments I have later. Also feeling kinda "meh," so I'll probably be resting for a bit. But I at least wanted to get this up, for people to start discussing it.


The introduction sets up Susan Calvin's importance in the story, and sets her up as emotionless, almost a robot herself, making a nice contrast to the robots who, as with much sci-fi of the time, are being portrayed as possibly another form of human themselves.

And of course "Robbie," a short story that introduces a Robot used as a nursemaid. It's a bit on the treacly side in some ways, but still nice. Although really, I have to wonder what Mrs. Weston's problem really is. Is it just what "the neighbors" say, or what? I mean she gives a lot of reasons, but it's hard to pick out what might actually be troubling her, and what is just an excuse.

This also pretty effectively sets us up to start considering the whole question of what makes a person a person. It's just a bit.. odder to read it now, since the events happening there would now be in our past, and of course things like thinking robots and commercial jet-cars aren't here yet. (It's also awkward in the introduction to see the reporter making notes manually via a machine, instead of just recording the interview.)

And in some ways, I think our society dilutes the impact a bit, since we've become too used to seeing robots as, well, things that don't actually think or have emotions, thus aren't real people in pretty much *any* sense. It might happen eventually, but I think the longer it goes on that we have machines without the thoughts, the harder it is for us to think of them as possibly something more.

Anyhow, if I have any further comments that I think of I'll add them in comments later. Sorry if this is a bit short or not very detailed, feeling better already but still not peachy keen, so I'm slacking a bit. :p


Nov. 9th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Re: My thoughts, let me show you them
Why would you design heavy industry robots that look human?

Asimov himself brought that up several times in the corpus, if memory serves, as making it easier for people to accept robots. Or at least, the intention being making it easier for people to accept robots, and the reaction being Uncanny Valley in a major way. When I first learned of the Uncanny Valley term, actually, I remember thinking what a pity Asimov did not have that term when he was writing the R. Daneel Olivaw stories.