Isaac Asimov is recognized as one of the first greatest writers in the robotic field using his short stories, I, Robot. The story is composed of many short stories that revolve around the invention of robots and their interaction with human beings in the 19th century. The Reason short story serves as a great example of how the robots considered human beings inferior to them and refused to acknowledge the ability of man to create them. In "Reason," Asimov Isaac creates an imaginary robot character whose abilities, reasoning, and intelligence level is warranting and a threat to human control over scientific innovations.
According to the Asimov story, the robots created by human beings would become rebellious and question the leadership of men. The idea in the story is correct based on the evidence provided by the QT robot. Different themes and writing styles have been utilized by the writer to support his hypothesis. Based on the story, it is not safe for human beings to continue with the creation of machines because they would soon take control of the planet and refuse to take orders from them. Apart from the ideas of the story, different scholars have supported the fear of robots taking over. For example, according to Minsky, human beings need to be careful and ensure that they remain in control because there is a possibility of robots takes over (118).
Asimov presents his ideas in a logical yet fascinating way, which is easy to read and understand. However, the complexity of his idea is notable, owing to the nature of the industrial revolution, especially in the 21st century. Despite the robotic rules stipulated, the possibility of becoming dependent on the control of the machines for survival becomes apparent. Asimov Short story "Response" serves as an eye-opener to the human race. An analysis of the short story gives evidence of possible rebellion, which can turn chaotic in case of conflict of interest. However, despite taking charge, the QT robot created by the earthmen proves to be compassionate and caring, which is only possible for human beings.
After the creation of QT-1 by Powell and Donovan, the robotic interaction with human beings change was inevitable. The robot, which was referred to Cutie by Powell, had special abilities not common with other robots. His mastery of the language and reasoning capability was beyond what they earthmen anticipated. The QT model was the first of its kind, but its creators ascertained that the QT-1 was safe (Asimov 34). The robot had an artificial brain that was functioning well based on the first rule of Robotics. However, the first problem witnessed by Powell was when Cutie started questioning where it came from. Powell tried to explain that they created it, but it was impossible to prove to the robot that they did. For the first time since man started creating Robots, his ability to make one was being challenged by his creation. All the previously created robots never disobeyed them due to the information installed in their brains, which directed them only to carry out the activities assigned to them.
Being the first robot to understand the world outside made Cutie very hard to control and give orders to.
Cutie challenged Asimov's idea of robot laws; the robot could not understand how an inferior human being can make something superior to them. A series of facts support his challenge of the idea that it was created directly by a master who also created human beings. The robot asks Powell and Mike to prove that they made it, and no argument was enough for it. The theme of doubt is evident in the first part of the Asimov story. For the first time, a robot doubted its master. It could not believe any of the evidence provided by the earthmen based on a lack of scientific proof. The robot disputes Powell facts and evidence as false claims, which "the master" made the humans believe due to their poor reasoning capabilities.
Powell explains to Cutie that his role would be to manage the space-based robots a task which was previously carried out by humans. However, before allowing him to manage, the robot had to prove to be intelligent enough to handle executive functions. However, the QT-1 robot model was hesitant to work under human and believed that it was a superior being which could only serve the master. However, since the master created them both, he could not harm human beings but rather feel pity for them. According to the first robotic rule, the robots were not supposed to harm humans. The rule is adhered to by Cutie despite his rebellious act and failure to take orders from humans. However, the second robotic rule is broken when he refused to obey the orders coming from the earthmen.
The QT-1 robot decided to investigate on its existence and prove to the earthmen that their claims of creating him were unbelievable. After taking time alone, the robot provided proof to Donovan and Powell regarding its origin (Asimov 38). However, Donovan behaves like a typical human being who is in charge and feels superior to the machine. He refused to be challenged by his creation and even suggested that they should dismantle the robot. Despite the actions of the robot, Powell is hesitant to act according to Donovan's suggestions, and it is his reluctance that later lands them into trouble.
The first significant act of rebellion was witnessed by Donovan when he visited the control room. The robots, for the first time, failed to obey his command. "What the devil is this, you brainless lumps? Come on! Get busy with that L-tube! If you do not have it apart, cleaned, and together again before the day is out, I will coagulate your brains with alternating current."(Asimov 38). Even after his threat, not even a single robot moves. Cutie had proclaimed himself as the prophet of the master and turned every robot from taking orders from the humans. However, despite being in charge, the QT robot still treats the human being with dignity even after he disrespects him by spitting on the L-Tube. Donovan's actions result in him being thrown out of the control room and a permanent ban for humans from accessing the room. The robot takes the leadership of the whole plant, and there is nothing that men could do.
The robot's actions, even after taking over the plant, are beyond what human being thinks would happen when they take control. Under the leadership of the QT-1, the robots effectively protect the earth from the storm that was directly headed towards them. The new model proved to be capable of handling the plant just as required without human supervision. However, the earthmen worried about what would happen if it takes full control and serves its course.
Counter Arguments to Asimov Response Short Story Ideas
According to Hallevy, robots are used in the South Korean borders to keep outsiders from entering (1). However, despite the artificial intelligence possessed by the machines, they never fail to obey the human commands. The robots are made in a way that they only follow a sequence of codes formulated through their brains. Therefore, unless the creators change the code, the machine cannot perform any other task apart from what it is required. The human laws do not apply to the scientific objects manufactured by men. Therefore, their masters pay the consequences in the case of robotic crimes. The Response short story of Asimov portrays the intelligence of the machines to be higher than that of human beings. However, the artificial intelligence is installed and programmed by men.
NASA has been using robots in space exploration for a long time (Katz and Raphael 34). However, despite their continuous usage and improvements, the robots have never failed to obey human commands. The machines have effectively undertaken their tasks as required by NASA without posing any human threat. Space exploration in Response by Asimov is also mandated to the robots. However, the story portrays the activities of the machines as rebellious, which cannot happen in real robotic experiments.
According to Minsky, robots can take over the earth if left uncontrolled (2). However, unlike the idea portrayed by Asimov of peaceful coexistence of the machines and humans even after the takeover, the resulting outcomes would be the extermination of humankind. Asimov gives his character cutie human attributes, which are impossible in machines. The understanding of portrayed by QT-1 is ambiguous and unrealistic.
The Response short story From I, Robot by Asimov is a reflection of where the world is headed. The abilities portrayed by the QT robot are beyond human understanding because a machine is supposed to be controlled by men. However, the robots in the story divert from receiving orders from the earthmen to giving them. The innovation of robots is a significant step in industrialization; however, unwatched control of the machines may lead to chaos. Asimov's mastery of the literature composition portrayed by the themes, plot, and writing style makes his work an excellent study book. Apart from entertaining, the ideas discussed in the books are helpful to human beings, especially in the 21st century. The future of the human race may be dark if the uncontrolled production of robots continues. Literature is a mirror of society. Therefore, the theme of rebellion presented in the book may not be for fun only but a reality that awaits the human race.
Asimov, Isaac. I, robot. Narkaling Productions., 1930.
Hallevy, Gabriel. When Robots Kill: artificial intelligence under criminal law. UPNE, 2013.Katz, Daniel S., and Raphael R. Some. "NASA advances robotic space exploration." Computer 36.1 (2003): 52-61.
Minsky, Marvin. "Will robots inherit the Earth?." Scientific American 271.4 (1994): 108-113.
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