Answer TWO of the following:
Q1: In trying to ascertain whether or not Byerley is a robot or not, Dr. Susan Calvin remarks, “To put it simply—if Byerley follows all the Rules of Robots, he may be a robot, and may simply be a very good man” (221). How might this statement allow Asimov to use Byerley as a metaphor for how a “cleaner, better breed” should act like in society? Where do we see Byerley functioning like this in the story?
Q2: Dr. Susan Calvin remarks in “Escape!” that a robot’s brain “is built by humans and is therefore built according to human values” (177). Why is this a significant statement, and how does it help explain why the Brain acts as he does? Why would Calvin argue that the Brain acted the way a human would act, rather than the way a robot would?
Q3: Byerley refuses to submit to X-ray tests and other investigations which he considers a violation of his personal rights, even if they would immediately expose the lies about his robotic identity. As he tells Quinn, “You have little concern with the rights of the individual citizen. I have great concern. I will not submit to X-ray analysis, because I wish to maintain my Rights on principle” (230). Why might this also be a political statement on Asimov’s part, one that raises concerns about due process in the 1950’s—as well as in our own age?
Q4: In both stories, it initially seems like the robots are breaking the First and the Second Laws of Robotics. However, it later turns out that to truly obey these laws requires a fair amount of deception, secrecy, and creativity. Do you think this is justified? Are these merely the “white lies” necessary to save humanity? Or are these robots taking too many liberties in deciding what is good for us—and what isn’t?