Friday, March 31, 2017

For Tuesday: Asimov, I, Robot: "Liar" and "Lost Little Robot" + Paper #3 assignment


Two more stories for Tuesday--"Liar" and "Lost Little Robot"--and no questions this time, since I want you to do another in-class writing to get you ready for Paper #3 (pasted below). We only have a few more readings and questions due, so don't fall behind! 

Paper #3: The Robots Are Coming

“Because, if you stop to think about it, the three Rules of Robotics are the essential guiding principles of a good many of the world’s ethical systems...if Byerley follows all the Rules of Robotics, he may be a robot, and may simply be a very good man” (“Evidence”).

The robots are coming! Well, in many ways they’re already here—especially in fiction. Suppose the stories of I, Robot are true in the hypothetical future, and like John Connor in The Terminator, you’ve come back in time to warn the Earth. However, there are many different ways to read these stories, some pessimistic, some optimistic. If you had the opportunity to share this ‘future’ with humanity, and invite other science fiction prophets to the table, which argument would you choose?
Ø  #1: Robots are a “cleaner, better breed” of human beings because they are us. We have essentially created a race of ‘older brothers/sisters’ to guide us safely into the future so we don’t extinguish ourselves in the process.
Ø  #2: Robots are too much like humans to be trusted: they will constantly seek to dominate humans by fudging the Three Laws until human beings are no more than docile pets, and robots the truth heirs of the planet Earth.

SOURCES (at least 5 sources total):
  • PRIMARY SOURCES: You must use at least TWO stories from I, Robot in your conversation (quotes that are discussed in your paper). Additionally, you may use any of the short stories from Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016.
  • SUPPORT: At least TWO recent sources (articles, books, or a reliable website with an author or from a major organization) that AGREE with you. You must quote from these and use them to support your ideas.
  • NAYSAYER: At least ONE recent source (articles, books, or a reliable website with an author or from a major organization) that DISAGREES or shows another side of your argument. You can use Asimov or one of the stories as a naysayer, but you have to use a different story than the two you used above.
Remember that this isn’t just a silly science fiction story; robots are getting more advanced and arguably more aware every day. Many leading scientists, such as Steven Hawking, are genuinely concerned about the power we’ve assigned robots and AI in our daily lives, and some fear we’ve already gone too far to turn back. How has the discussion advanced since Asimov wrote these stories in the 40’s and 50’s? Additionally, why are Asimov’s ideas still relevant today? How does the metaphor of “robot life” help us see the possibilities and dangers of our own advancement? Try to figure out which side he’s on, too...

LENGTH: At least 4-5 pages double spaced
CITATION: Introduce all quotations and cite at the end; include a Works Cited page for every source you use in your paper.
DUE DATE: Thursday, April 13th by 5pm

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