Robbie by Isaac Asimov Essay

Robbie by Isaac Asimov Essay

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“Robbie” by Isaac Asimov is a short story that takes place in 1998. When this story was written in 1965, the futuristic elements were extremely profound and one could see how the reader might agree with Asimov’s interpretation of the future. His world is detailed, including news events about manned Mars missions, futuristic technology, a technological code of ethics, or the ‘Three Laws of Robotics,’ and convincing personal relationships. However, Asimov got it backwards. Many elements in his world are still science fiction today and while robots do exist in 2010, Asimov’s robots are far more advanced in some areas and far more deficient in others. Although Asimov’s world contained many convincing elements, it was ultimately flawed and suggests that mankind’s predictions of the future are not always accurate.
Asimov’s robots are silent, expensive, metal machines with glowing red eyes. They are employed as construction workers, assembly line workers and domestic workers. Robbie, the nursemaid robot of the main character Gloria, cost the family half of a year’s income. He gives Gloria silent affection and attention while doing menial tasks for her parents. Robbie is also extremely agile, which aids him in taking care of his masters’ daughter. It would seem that even though Robbie is a bit unsightly, he does everyday functions (except for talking) with relative ease. This, however, is not the case in 2010.
In 2010, robots are very different from the expectations set in 1965. “The latest advances in technology have led to robots that look very much like humans but are mostly able to perform only limited functions.” (Bar-Cohen 12). Yoseph Bar-Cohen and David Hanson’s book ‘The Coming Robot Revolution” is very clear ab...


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...day. South Korea has set an official goal of getting a robot in every home by 2013 and the Japan Robot Association predicts that the personal robot industry will be worth about $50 billion dollars a year worldwide (Bar-Cohen 162). Only time will tell if these predictions are correct. As for now, however, the nonexistence of gyros, robot nursemaids, and visavoxes should caution mankind to be more conservative in the prediction of the future, at least until the science fiction of 1965 finally becomes complete science fact.





Works Cited
Bar-Cohen, Yoseph, and David Hanson. The Coming Robot Revolution: Expectations and Fears about Emerging Intelligent, Humanlike Machines. New York: Springer, 2009. Print.

De, Camp L. Sprague, and Camp Catherine Crook De. Tales beyond Time; from Fantasy to Science Fiction. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1973. Print.

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