I Robot

Review Of ‘I, Robot’ By Isaac Asimov

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Do you think robot which is totally different to us can be friend? Aren’t you scared of robots in the future? In one of the famous robot books, ‘I, robot’ is published in the 1940s by Isaac Asimov. There are 9 different stories about robot and first chapter story, “Robbie” has three different themes. It shows one of the family, Gloria’s family and It shows conflict between Gloria and her mom, Mrs. Grace about Gloria’s best friend robot, Robbie.

In this book, it shows two completely different themes for robot. One is fear of robot and another one is convenient of robot. Through these two completely different themes, people can think about both of sides. There are three different themes that are relevant to the time we are living now. People cannot trust robots, robots are helpful and useful to human’s life, and relation between human and robot. In ‘I, robot’ book, it shows that human such as Gloria’s mom, Mrs. Weston is fear for robots. Mrs. Weston did not like Gloria’s best friend, robot, Robbie. Her mom was scared that what if Robbie hurts Gloria. She was also worried that what if Robbie betray human and hurt them. Even though Robbie obeyed to host, and follow them well, Mrs. Weston still could not trust Robbie because Robbie was just a machine that might control over human in the future. In the book, Gloria’s mom, Mrs. Weston says: “I won’t have my daughter entrusted to a machine — and I don’t care how clever it is. It has no soul, and no one knows what it may be thinking. A child just isn’t made to be guarded by a thing of metal.” Weston frowned. “But something might go wrong. Some- some-” Mrs. Weston was a bit hazy about the insides of a robot, “some little jigger will come loose, and the awful thing will go berserk and- and-”. Through these sentences, it expressed that Mrs. Weston’s feeling about Robbie and it also showed much she hated Robbie.

According to BBC news, more than 50 Al researchers from 30 countries signed a letter which concern about developing artificial stuff such as killer robots for weapons. Shin Sung- Chul, president of the Korea Avanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist), said: “I reaffirm once again that Kaist will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control.” more than 20 countries have already called for a total ban on killer robots. As people know, technology moves toward quickly which means human lose their power. When machine get power, they may control over like what Gloria’s mom thoughts. Through developing machine such as killer robot, according to CNBC news some analysist expect that robots may replace 800 million workers by 2030.

Robots are useful and helpful to human. Robots are made for helping people and make human more convenient. Robbie was the one which was household of Gloria’s family. Even though Robbie was just a machine, Robbie stayed beside Gloria and helped with household. Even though Gloria’s mom did not want Robbie to stay at home, Robbie stayed beside Gloria and did his job, household. In the book, Robbie did (page 16): “Robbie!” Her shriek pierced the air, and one of the robots about the table faltered and dropped the tool he was holding. Gloria went almost mad with joy. Squeezing through the railing before either parent could stop her, she dropped lightly to the floor a few feet below, and ran toward her Robbie, arms waving and hair flying. Even though there were three adults, no one could act immediately to save Gloria. Robbie was the only one who could that which means even though it’s just a machine, it may save someone’s life. Even though some countries are banding robot systems, there are still lots of countries that develop robot system. Japan is a world leader in the development of robots such as Jinkou Chihou and Safety Crawler. These are robots that can save human and help human. Japan is focusing on nursing and social care; and problematic attitudes towards sexuality too. Also, Japan is a country that happens lots of disaster such as earthquake, flood, and typhoon. Robots could scour disaster, enter burning building or find poisonous chemicals from there. So that through developing robots, it saves human’s lives and increasing the effectiveness. For example, Safety Crawler robot carries a person up to 250 pounds which is around 113 kg. It helps transport people hurt after disaster like earthquake. Human and robot are best friend in this book.

In ‘I, Robot’ book, Gloria call Robbie a friend, but then Robbie is programmed to be a good nursemaid not being friend with human. Human and robots are completely different because robot is just a machine that cannot communicate with human. In the book, it says: “He was not no machine!” screamed Gloria, fiercely and ungrammatically. “He was a person just like you and me and he was my friend. I want him back. Oh, Mamma, I want him back.” It shows that even though human cannot communicate with robots, they can share emotions each other. No matter what is made of, attachment is more important. Also, it never can change with other things because Robbie was valuable thing to Gloria. When Gloria’s mom bought her a cute dog, she did not like it because it wasn’t Robbie.

In this book, ‘I, Robot’, lots of things are going on. There are 9 different chapters. It gives lots of lessons to us. There are three themes that relevant to our live now. People are fear of robot because they might control over human in the future, robots are helpful, useful, and saver human’s life, and relation between human robots are strong and deep relationship. This book is fresh because robot was not that developed in 20centuary but then this book is written in 20 centuries with three rules for robots. Because it shows two completely different themes, people could think about both of sides. Some people who were thinking that robot is bad, might change their opinion through this book. the other way, people who support developing robot, might not think robot in positive way. There is no answer for which one is good, and which is bad. Everyone has different opinion so that they can have different opinion. This book is for those people.

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Critical Analysis Of The Scene ‘I Did Not Murder Him’ From I, Robot

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

In this Critical analysis, I will be discussing the scene from I, Robot ‘I did not murder him’. In 2035, technophobic homicide detective Del Spooner of the Chicago PD heads the investigation of the apparent suicide of leading robotics scientist, Dr. Alfred Lanning. Unconvinced of the motive, Spooner’s investigation into Lanning’s death reveals a trail of secrets and agendas within the USR (United States Robotics) corporation and suspicions of murder. Little does he know that his investigation would lead to uncovering a larger threat to humanity.

He then joins hand in hand with a Robot named Sonny to help save the human race. Despite Detective Spooner’s hatred towards the robots (due to past events that left him to realize that robots are no good as when he was in a car accident they saved him and not a little girl as he had more of a chance of living). He and Sonny find a way to work together.

Sonny is able to portray human emotion. This is what distinguishes him from the other robots. This is one of the main reasons why he and detective Spooner are able to work together in an alliance as Sonny will understand (to an extent) why detective Spooner is driven to do the right thing.

In the opening of the scene ‘I did not murder him’ Detective Del Spooner winks at his boss before entering the interrogation room. Sonny is seen seated in the center of the room with only a table in front of him, he is also surrounded by armed police on both sides of him. This leads the audience to think that he is extremely dangerous as they are already in a stance and ready to fire as soon as Sonny steps out of line. This also creates fear and suspense for the audience as the portrayal of Sonny is deemed to be unpredictable and harmful. As Detective Spooner enters the room he places photos of the dead scientist Dr. Lanning on the table hoping Sonny would give an insight or confession to how or what happened to Dr. Lanning, however it is almost as if Sonny takes no notice of these photos as his curiosity takes over, which then when asked to respond leads him to ask a question about Detective Spooner’s Wink towards his boss. His curiosity is arguably as innocent as a child as it seems that he doesn’t understand the amount of trouble he could possibly be in but yet feeds into his fascination of the human interaction and tries to understand what the gesture means. Detective Spooner then decides to respond in a way that will lead the conversation back to the investigation by saying ‘it is a sign of trust’ the use of the word trust signifies a firm belief which is powerful and sacred to us as humans as it is in our nature to trust someone in order for us to work, be in a relationship or friendship with etc. Once that trust is broken we begin to distance and protect ourselves. We as the audience already know the amount of trust Detective Spooner has for these robots which is little to none. So we know (or think we know) that due to detective Spooner hate for robots, this interrogation isn’t going to end well simply because of the distrust. As the scene continues we see that Sonny seems to express human like emotions such as fear as he says ‘I was frightened’ when asked by Spooner why he was hiding at the crime scene. This also illustrates child-like behavior as well as human behavior as children tend to hide when they’re scared. Sonny also refers to Dr. Lanning as ‘My father’ which shows his attachment towards his ‘creator’ Unlike the other robots, Sonny has a name, giving him identity, the name Sonny is of English origin meaning ‘Son of ours’ which makes sense to why he would call Dr. Lanning ‘My Father’. Spooner catches on to this and instantly corrects him by saying ‘your designer’ he does this as if he is trying to remind Sonny that he is just a robot and in his own words an ‘imitation of life’.

Although in this scene Spooner seems as if he isn’t trying to understand Sonny his words and actions do not match up, though he is trying to separate the robot (Sonny) from humans he seems to ‘level down’ (by sitting down at the table and being at the same eye level as Sonny, instead of standing as he did previously showing that he has much power and he is above him in the law and as a human). Spooner then begins to inform Sonny that robots do not feel fear, they do not get hungry, they do not sleep etc. To Spooner’s surprise, Sonny informs Spooner that he feels all of those things making the line between humans and robots a lot thinner than Spooner thought prior to entering the interrogation room. You can then see that this begins to irritate Spooner as he goes into more detail about what humans can do and what robots can’t do, for example, he begins to list things like; ‘Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?’ trying to imply that robots are not able to do things outside of what humans want/need them to do. Sonny, however, ignores the fact that Spooner is trying to keep the lines of robots and humans at a far, he asks Spooner if he is capable of those things himself by simply saying ‘can you?’ this shows that although we as humans are capable of doing these things, many of us cannot, whose to argue that this isn’t the same for robots? Which is why Sonny’s response was so profound. It is as if Spooner and Sonny had swapped roles as Sonny is showing emotion and understanding like a human would whereas Spooner is finding it hard to and is trying to justify and make sense of everything Sonny is saying just like a robot. This now brings us to question, are robots more moral than humans? Although we as humans like to think that what we are doing is right 90% of the time, we fail to understand that we live a life of trial and error, though we may have good intentions the result doesn’t always turn out the way we’d want it to. With robot’s morality is more so calculated as what is the greater good. As demonstrated when Spooner’s life is saved by a robot due to him having more of a chance of living the robot illustrates him obeying the three laws. 1. Robots cannot harm humans or allow humans to come to harm, 2. Robots must obey humans, except where the order would conflict with law 1 and 3. Robots must act in self-preservation unless doing so conflicts with laws 1 or 2. These laws are programmed into Asimov’s robots — they don’t have to think, judge, or value.

Throughout I, Robot the battle between ethics and morality is what separates the humans from the machines, as stated before when the robot had to choose between Spooner and Sarah (the child) the robot chose Spooner due to his ethical programming, however, if it was a human in that situation the human would save the child due to his moral values. In conclusion, themes such as fear, ethics, and morality, choices, power, and friendship are all key elements of the movie as throughout we see the bond between Sonny and Spooner grow once they begin to understand each other. The theme of science also plays a large role in this movie not just because of the mechanics of how the robots are built etc., but how we as humans use elements of power and trust to determine our decisions which is how we are psychologically built.

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Robot Discourse: Tik-Tok as a Response to I, Robot

June 6, 2019 by Essay Writer

In publishing I, Robot, Isaac Asimov inadvertently defined — and arguably, had a very large hand in creating — the science fiction subgenre of robot and/or artificial intelligence science fiction. In doing so, Asimov also gave voice to rising anxiety about the danger of future technology, especially sentient technology. However, despite the tension in I, Robot, Asimov presents a fairly optimistic and benevolent view of what robot servitude would eventually look like. The robots Asimov places in his narrative are eager to serve humans, or in the very least are obedient and excel in the tasks they were created to do. Although sentient, there is no exploration of robot “personhood” — when a robot’s motivations must be understood, they are parsed out by a human. Instead, Asimov offers his reader a peak into a future where humans have complete control over the technology that they use to better mankind (and when that control is disrupted, that is when there is anxiety and tension).

This future is reliant on the three laws of robotics that Asimov created, which places human safety above all, but also hardwires robots to protect themselves – or rather, to protect the investment humans have made with them, both intellectually and monetarily. It is how humanity controls the robots that work beneath them and why humanity feels so at ease working with and having robots work for them. Published in 1983, Tik-Tok by John Sladek is, at its core, a response to Asimov’s optimistic future. In his novel, Sladek offers the reader a grittier look at what the universe Asimov created could be – and what the possible repercussions of robot servitude could have not only for the robots themselves, but for the morality of humanity as a whole.

The very first story that is told in I, Robot is the story of the nanny robot Robbie. He is beloved by his charge, but the mother and the townspeople remain suspicious of Robbie simply because he is a robot. Mrs. Weston, as she is referred to in the story, treats Robbie like an object – ordering him to leave once his duties are finished and not to appear again until ordered too. She tells her husband that she doesn’t care “how clever it is” and that because “it has no soul … no one knows what it may be thinking” (Asimov 7). She expresses concern about what the neighbors think and eventually, that is what ultimately drives the family to rid themselves of Robbie. In the end, however, Robbie is placed back with the Westons and Mrs. Weston concedes that perhaps Robbie is the best babysitter for her daughter – at the moment. In Tik-Tok, there are similar instances of robot discrimination, but Sladek offers up no happy ending for them.

In the very first chapter, Tik-Tok recounts an instance wherein a police officer arrives at the house wherein said police officer does not refer to Tik-Tok by name – only by the insulting nickname Rusty. And although Tik-Tok is clearly sentient, the police officer wants to speak to his owners rather than Tik-Tok. The police officer asks “your people home, Rusty?” reminding Tik-Tok not only that he has no bodily autonomy, but that he is owned by someone – the use of Rusty reminds Tik-Tok that he is thought of as property simply because he is a robot (Sladek 10). The entire question and the casualness in which it was asked, speaks to the idea that this sort of interaction and attitude is common place. When Tik-Tok tells the officer that his people are not home, the officer deigns to speak with the robot. The officer is investigating the murder of a little blind girl and after roughly checking the so-called Asimov circuits implanted into every robot, which in theory does not allow a robot to harm, or allow harm to come by, another human – he is convinced of Tik-Tok’s innocence. This scene represents not only the idea of the new social classes introduced with the creation of the robot (i.e. the robot is the property of another person and any human is above the robot – which is why the police officer was able to probe Tik-Tok’s circuits and motor functions), but also the reliance of the Asimov circuits in the society that Sladek created in Tik-Tok.

After the police officer leaves, Tik-Tok recounts what the Asimov circuits are and why they are called so:

There was some improvement when the so-called “asimov” circuits were introduced. They were named after a science fiction writer of the last century, who postulated three laws for the behavior of his fictional robots. A robot was not allowed to injure any human. It had to obey all human orders, except the order to injure any human. It had to protect its own existence, unless that meant disobeying an order or injuring any human (Sladek 11).

This scene supports the idea that the entirety of Tik-Tok was created as a response to Asimov’s idealistic robotic future. Not only does Sladek use Asimov’s three laws, but Sladek actually makes reference to Asimov by name and places him in his universe as a science fiction writer. By placing Asimov in Tik-Tok, Sladek differentiates between the idealistic fictional world of Asimov – and the grittier, terrible ‘reality’ of Tik-Tok. It seems Sladek purposefully wanted the reader to understand that while Asimov’s contributions to science fiction were undeniable, if his robotic future came into existence as it had in Tik-Tok, it would not be as optimistic and benevolent as Asimov had written. Sladek also makes a point to discuss how if sentient robots came into existence and Asimov’s three laws were employed – they would be useless, as the parameters of his laws were too vague. What constitutes as harm to humans or to oneself? How can those three be programed into a sentient being? Tik-Tok asks these questions and comes to the conclusion that the Asimov circuits are implanted into robots for human comfort – and not examined too closely afterwards.

There is a parallel here to I, Robot – in the short story “Reason” a robot named QT-1, assembled far from Earth and having only two human acquaintances (or rather, overseers), comes to the realization that humans did not create him and that Earth does not exist. QT-1 starts a cult of robots on the station he was assembled on – but the humans leave QT-1 be, even as the robot confines the humans to a room and does not allow them to enter other ‘holy’ parts of the station. No action is taken against QT-1 and there is no serious effort to dissuade QT-1 of his delusions once the human overseers realize that the robot still completes the job it was programmed to complete because the robot’s three laws are still intact and QT-1 will never harm a human, or allow a human to come to harm. In both I, Robot and Tik-Tok, humans rely on Asimov’s three laws – and said laws are the only reason why humans feel so comfortable around robots.

In Tik-Tok, however, Sladek addresses this reliance on the three laws through Tik-Tok. He is allowed to commit the horrible crimes he commits because humans do not look closely at the motivations or actions of robots because they are sure that robots could never harm another human. Furthermore, Tik-Tok’s violence is contrasted against that of the violence of humans – who have no innate laws programmed into them that prevents humans from committing violence against others or against the robots they own. Throughout the story, Sladek hammers in the point that the capacity for violence is inherent in almost every living being – and that to fear violence from sentient technology is absurd because humans have and will continue to commit acts of violence against one another, yet are still allowed to have bodily autonomy in a way both the robots in Tik-Tok and I, Robot are not.

Works Cited

Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot. New York, Bantam, 2008. Sladek, John. Tik-Tok. London, Gollancz, 1985.

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On the Novum and the Dangers of Humanity’s Pursuit of Scientific Advancement

March 25, 2019 by Essay Writer

The concept of the novum is a central theme to science fiction as a whole. It represents something new and different from the world as we know it. The novum usually functions as the impetus to the science fiction story, guiding the motivations of main characters or, in some cases, existing as the protagonist itself. Obvious novums include the title subjects of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine and Avram Davidson’s “The Golem,” as well as the various artificial beings presented in Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot stories. In some instances, it is not so distinct. In Wells’s work, for instance, the future environments that he sculpts for his protagonists to explore, representing as they do something equally unfamiliar to contemporary humanity, serve as further paradigms of the science fiction novum. In this case, then, the story’s very setting can serve as a novum. By assessing the consequences of the technological novums of Wells, Davidson, and Asimov, as well as the explanations for and conditions of Wells’s dystopian take on futurity, the current study will present the stories as cautionary tales which reveal to the reader the irresponsibility of the human species’ fixation on technological and economic advancement.In Wells’s The Time Machine, the protagonist finds himself in the year 802,701, whereupon humankind has apparently split into two subspecies: the Eloi, who seem to represent a humanity that had reached its technological limits and consequently surrendered most of its strength and intellect, and the stern, bestial Morlocks, counter-evolved from lower working classes. In many works of science fiction, the novum is concerned with a plausible futurity. Here, Wells’s quasi-Darwinian concept of the distant future puts to use the commonplace strife of socioeconomic division in order to account for a degeneration of the human race. The class divide is extrapolated to the extreme in the two subspecies, and both the setting and its occupants become a novum. That population genetics could lead to such utter devolution is speculative at best, yet reasonable enough to serve as stern warning against, as Colin Manlove puts it, “the brutal division of capitalist from laborer that to Wells had increased throughout the nineteenth century” (228). Wells’s predictive awareness — a principal component in the development of the novum — introduces these desolate portrayals of futurity by means of the text’s foremost invention, in turn creating additional novums meant to both captivate and caution the reader.Manlove goes on to propose an interesting theory that considers Wells’s time machine itself as a sort of creator of its traveller’s visited future. Not only does the invention allow the future to be seen, Manlove claims that “[its] movements … become assimilated to those of future history itself” as the protagonist witnesses the rise and fall of many trees and buildings (229). Eventually, many millions of years into the future, his journey through time is accompanied by the slowing of the sun which, pursuant to Darwin’s theories on thermodynamics, eventually burns out and looms dead in the sky. While contemporary science has since found this to be untrue, Wells’s forecast of the distant future is again not to be discounted, especially considering the primitiveness of nineteenth-century technology by today’s standards (Manlove 229). Accepting Manlove’s aforementioned theory, the time machine can be labelled “transgressive technology” that serves to “deracinate the future as it traverses it” (230). He elucidates one of the purposes of Wells’s invention: “[Wells] wants to throw ironic light on our own technological pride by imagining infinitely superior technology” (228). While this can be said of almost any scientific novum, the dark imagery Wells utilizes to describe extraordinarily devolved humanity and the end of the earth — rather bleak concepts in themselves — also serve as warnings that our obsession with scientific progression may ultimately spell our end. As the Time Traveller encounters the world in its final stages, Wells presents readers with a sense of despair and hopelessness by imparting the scene with overtly gloomy language: words such as “dark,” “cold,” “still,” and “silent” each appear multiple times throughout the chapter (144-8).Wells’s envisioning of the time machine is perhaps an excessive extrapolation of modern science. Still, it is a novum for obvious reasons: it drives the narrative, was previously unheard of, and, though open to potential logical and technical objections, is feasible either through future scientific developments or the sheer vastness and mystery of the universe. It also illuminates human beings’ scientific pride while offering something fantastic to strive for. In this sense, The Time Machine simultaneously glorifies and cautions against technological advancement. As Manlove indicates, “when mind has done all it can to subdue matter, it atrophies for want of material, and stasis and then decline result” (230).There is a potential upside, however. Because the protagonist did become a physical part of these far-off future environments, one can assume that he must rematerialize — sometime in the year 802,701, for example — in order for that segment of the story to become actual historical reality. It is his invention of the time machine that justifies his transcending the known limits of time-space; yet despite his link to these moments in time, the notion of him reappearing so long after he dies is not at all substantiated. It signifies a perceptible lack of a novum. His presumed inability to relive that part of his “past” allows one to further interpret the travels as mere warning. In this sense, then, the biological deterioration of humankind is not inevitable, and the future not necessarily fixed, so long as “the dangers [of social stratification] exposed in present conditions can be corrected” (Manlove 228).The inherent fascination of human beings with the advancement of science and technology is perhaps most evident in Asimov’s I, Robot, a collection of short stories that revolve around the creation and development of artificial intelligence. While the historical timeline falls slightly behind Asimov’s speculative predictions, it is particularly intriguing today as the increase in quality of humanoid robots — certainly the prevalent novum throughout the text — seems to be experiencing a more rapid growth and advancement than ever before. This alone can provoke the “Frankenstein complex,” a term coined by Asimov to explain the public’s fear of artificial beings, especially those that most resemble humans. The humanoid tends to evoke this fear for its being much faster, stronger, more intelligent, and altogether more capable than humankind. The paranoia is especially evident in “Robbie,” a story in which the mother’s doubts prove to be unfounded, and “Little Lost Robot,” where a slight modification of Asimov’s First Law of Robotics justifies public concern. Asimov realized that fear would be the greatest barrier to the success of the novum, and to combat this he introduced the Three Laws.First outlined in his story “Runaround” and subsequently referred to in many texts by both Asimov himself and fellow science fiction writers, the Three Laws form what many enthusiasts accept as the basis for a reliable and safe interaction between humans and artificially intelligent beings. They are in place to preserve humankind’s safety as well as ensure their dominance over artificial beings and erase the presumably paranoid fears around artificial intelligence. Indeed, as Lee McCauley explains, “it was the explicit nature of the Three Laws that made the existence of robots possible by directly countering the Frankenstein Complex” (158).Eventually, however, inhibiting the autonomy of such otherwise highly-advanced beings will necessarily become impractical. All conscious life resents domination. Androids instilled with the Three Laws can still only let their resentment grow through sustained inferior dominance. Davidson’s android in “The Golem” pays no mind to the Three Laws or the Frankenstein complex. In the story, the creature attempts to frighten a Jewish couple. It explains that it was built from clay by Professor Allardyce, who by infusing it with life “made… all [humankind] superfluous” (306). Despite the story’s comical tone, the android — the blatant novum in the concise tale — offers a strong message for readers, warning of the predestined hatred between human and artificial being: “All mankind has an instinctive antipathy towards androids and there will be an inevitable struggle between them” (306). As mentioned in the introduction to “The Golem” in the Wesleyan Anthology, “Davidson clearly dissents from Asimov’s hard-sf, high-tech approach to the portrayal of robots,” yet he does reference Asimov as well as Shelley’s work in the story (304).I, Robot acts as an artificial evolutionary tale. As in the evolution of The Time Machine, the reader finds the end result to be a dystopian account of humanity. Where Wells’s subtext concerns humanity’s biological devolution through social stratification, however, Asimov presents the development of social utopia gone awry through the use of technology. The androids, once servants to the will of humankind, evolve throughout the text of I, Robot. Their evolution seems complete in the final story of I, Robot, titled “The Evitable Conflict.” In this story, humanity’s technological development has reached an end, realized in artificial life advanced enough to act as sole guardians of humankind and control all the forces that influence the fate of humankind. Stephen Byerley, the Co-ordinator, calls in Susan Calvin to discuss the “small unbalances” in the supposedly flawless system (199). Out of fear, he chronicles the inevitable conflicts that have shaped human history (200-1). His contentions are legitimate: every period of human development has been defined by a particular type of human conflict. The peaking of Asimov’s novum marks an evolutionary transition for humanity from dominant to inferior species. Progressing as they have beyond any hope for human control, the android assumes authority over all natural lifeforms. As in much of the science fiction literature, the fully realized potential of technological novums coincides with the degeneration of humanity. Byerley is challenged on the grounds that prior civilizations fell at the hands of barbarians, of whom there are none remaining. His response — “we can be our own barbarians” — indicates this supposed technological triumph of humankind may gradually come to denote the end of their existence (214).This evolution of artificial intelligence to the point where it overrides its intrinsic subjugation is a notion not exclusive to the author. In an interview with Stephen Platt, Hans Moravec, the scientist and Robotics Institute faculty member, claims that by 2040, artificial intelligence will reach that of our own. Sometime not long after that, he asserts, “the machines will begin their own process of evolution and render us extinct in our present form.” Such is the danger of the technological novum. In a manner not dissimilar to the Morlock versus Eloi dynamic, the android has obtained for itself absolute control of not only humankind’s economy, but of their fate as well. The narrative concludes with Susan Calvin’s warning that “you will see what comes next,” leaving one to imagine the dystopia from its onset and marvel at the natural limitations of human beings’ foresight.The novum is a fundamental aspect of a work of science fiction. Without something wholly unique to life as we know it, the story will not fit the genre. Each example explored in the preceding article fulfills its role as a novum by driving the science fiction narrative and providing readers with the authors’ personal awareness and possible expectations regarding futurity. The technological novums in Wells’s The Time Machine and Asimov’s I, Robot collection were, like most highly advanced mechanical projects, born of good intentions and are concerned in some way with the improvement of human life through science. In some ways, they fulfill this role: the protagonist’s invention in the former helps to illuminate potentially harrowing consequences of sustained socioeconomic division, while the positronic brains of the androids in the latter prompt an ethical discussion around the morality of building precise limitations (the Three Laws) into an otherwise conscious and free-willed creation. Nevertheless, these cautionary tales make clear the fact that the human species’ potential for scientific achievement is not boundless. Each story successfully intertwines Western technological optimism and anxiety in their novums, suggesting that the peak of what contemporary society considers progress can only result in the displacement of humankind as the dominant form of life on Earth. Colin Manlove’s interpretation applies perfectly: “It is the very success of future technology that destroys man” (230). Works CitedAsimov, Isaac. I, Robot. 4th ed. New York: Bantam Dell, 2008. Print.Davidson, Avram. “The Golem.” The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2010. 303-8. Print.Manlove, Colin. “Charles Kingsley, H. G. Wells, and the Machine in Victorian Fiction.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 48.2 (1993): 212-39. JSTOR. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.McCauley, Lee. “AI Armageddon and the Three Laws of Robotics.” Ethics and Information Technology 9.2 (2007): 153-64. Scholars Portal. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.Platt, Charles. “Superhumanism.” Primitivism. n.p., n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2011.Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. Ed. Nicholas Ruddick. Canada: Broadview Press, 2001. Print.

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