time machine symposium

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analysing the ethics and social status of robotics in popular culturetime machine: symposium

introductionThis assignment will be investigating the topics of modernity, modernism and post-modernism in relation to the social perception of robots in particular examples popular culture. Sources to be used to inform this assignment include the book, Modernity, Modernism and PostModernism by Terry Eagleton, for an in-depth and detailed explanation of the three topics, as well as the article From Modernism to Post-Modernism from NewSchool.edu for the same purpose. The assignment will also be sourcing information from Isaac Asimovs I, Robot, mainly for its ideas concerning the Three Laws of Robotics and also a paper by Robert A. Frietas Jr. named The Legal Rights of Robots, which addresses concepts surrounding potential real world laws which may be developed with the advancement of robotic technology. Another source to be referenced is the book Robot Ethics by Patrick Lin, Keith Abney and George A. Bekey, for its detailed analysis of various ethical and social implications that come from the growing presence of robotics in society. The assignment will be taking information and topics discussed in these sources and applying them to a selection of historical and contemporary examples of robots in popular culture.

key ideasModernity Developing the Modern World and the Human Race Robots Serving Humanity, Considered Lesser Robots do not hold on to life. They can't. They have nothing to hold on with no soul, no instinct. Grass has more will to live than they do. (Kapek, 1920) Modernism Perfecting and Refining the Modern World and the Human Race Robots a Part of Society, Considered Equal Twenty years ago Hilary Putnam at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the first to address the issue of the civil rights of robots. It seems preferable to me that discrimination based on the softness or hardness of the body parts of a synthetic organism seems as silly as discriminatory treatment of humans on the basis of skin color. (Frietas Jr, 1985) Post-Modernism Surpassing the Modern World and the Human Race Robots Surpass Humanity, Considered Greater Naysayers believe there could come a time when these cunning creatures understand us better than we understand ourselves and they will manipulate us maybe even replace us. (Pelletier, Unknown)

cultural contextIdeas around robots and robotics have been present in history prior to the 20th century and many examples of robot-like machinery can be found in the stories of Hephaestus and his robot servants in Greek mythology. More modern ideas of robotics were established following the industrial revolution, a period which strived to develop technology that sustained, and potentially surpassed, humanity, alongside ideas of Modernity and the hopes of a future that was nothing less than a technological utopia. As these ideas became more prevalent in the developing world, as did ideas of ethics and robot rights, most notably displayed in Isaac Asimovs I, Robot. Recent ideas of robotics and technology in popular culture have come as a result of the rapid advancements in computing technology. It has reached the point where the planet rests on computers and technology, although negative aspects such as reduced privacy and cyber-crime have come along with these advances.

historical examples

Karel Capeks Rossums Universal Robots 1920

Fritz Langs Metropolis 1927

Isaac Asimovs I, Robot 1950

contemporary examples

James Camerons The Terminator 1984 Ridley Scotts Blade Runner 1982 Doctor Who The Cybermen 2006-Present

key individuals

Karel Capek Fritz Lang First User of the Term, Director of Metropolis Robot and Author of R.U.R.

Isaac Asimov Ridley Scott Writer of I, Robot and Director of Blade Runner Creator of the Term, Robotics

James Cameron Russell T. Davies Director of The Terminator Known for Reviving Doctor Who

Robots to Serve Humanity

Robots Equal to Humanity

Robots Surpassing HumanityPhilip K. Dick Author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Maria From Metropolis

The Cybermen From Doctor Who

conclusion-As time has progressed, the social perception has shifted from ideas of a mechanical utopia to that of a world of fear -When pursuing ways in which to further the Human race, there is a point at which this desire is the races undoing -The Human race desires to create more realistic, more human robots, but still wishes to view them as a separate entity -Creating a robot for a purpose brings with it an equal amount of ethical implications as treating it as an individual -Ideas of robotics surpassing humanity have developed alongside real world advances of technology

Sources Eagleton, T. (2000). Modernity, Modernism and Post-Modernism. [online] At: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AXqYozbscbQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false (Accessed on 27.03.12). . From Modernism to Post-Modernism In: homepage.newschool.edu 16.11.07 [online] At: http://homepage.newschool.edu/~quigleyt/vcs/postmodernism.pdf (Accessed on 27.03.12) Asimov, I. (1950). I, Robot. [online] At: http://nullfile.com/ebooks/(ebook)%20Asimov,%20Isaac%20-%20I,%20Robot.pdf (Accessed on 27.03.12).


A. (1985). The Legal Rights of Robots. In: rfrietas.com 13.01.85 [online] At: http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/LegalRightsOfRobots.htm (Accessed on 27.03.12) Lin, P, Abney, K and Bekey, G.A. (2012). Robot Ethics. [online] At: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oBb-lt3l4oYC&pg=PA329&dq=robot+rights&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4NpwT4bmMceL8gOJ5ayFCw&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=robot%20rights (Accessed on 27.03.12). Quotes Capek, K. (1920). Rossums Universal Robots. [online] At: http://preprints.readingroo.ms/RUR/rur.pdf (Accessed on 27.03.12). Pelletier, D. (Unknown). Robots Will Surpass Human Intelligence by 2030, Scientists Say. [online] At: http://positivefuturist.com/archive/47.html (Accessed on 27.03.12). Historical Examples

A. (1985). The Legal Rights of Robots. In: rfrietas.com 13.01.85 [online] At: http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/LegalRightsOfRobots.htm (Accessed on 27.03.12)

Capek, K. (1920). Rossums Universal Robots. [online] At: http://preprints.readingroo.ms/RUR/rur.pdf (Accessed on 27.03.12). tropolis. (1929). Directed by Fritz Lang [N/A] Germany: Universum Film. Asimov, I. (1950). I, Robot. [online] At: http://nullfile.com/ebooks/(ebook)%20Asimov,%20Isaac%20-%20I,%20Robot.pdf (Accessed on 27.03.12). Contemporary Examples

ade Runner. (1982). Directed by Ridley Scott [N/A] USA: Warner Bros.

Terminator. (1984). Directed by James Cameron [N/A] USA: Hemdale Film Corporation.

tor Who: Series 2, Episode 5. (2006). BBC One: 13 May. 19.00 hrs.

Historical Examples

list of illustrations

s Rossums Universal Robots 1920. (c. 1936) [Poster] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/R.U.R._by_Karel_%C4%8Capek_1939.jpg (Accessed o

gs Metropolis 1929. (c. 1927) [Poster] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/06/Metropolisposter.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

movs I, Robot 1950. (c. 1950) [Book Cover] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8e/I_Robot_-_Runaround.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12). Contemporary Examples

tts Blade Runner 1982. (c. 1982) [Poster] At: http://www.moviegoods.com/Assets/product_images/1020/188768.1020.A.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

merons The Terminator 1984. (c. 1984) [Film Still] At: http://images.pictureshunt.com/pics/t/the_terminator_robot-11361.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

o The Cybermen 2006- Present. (c. 2006) [Promotional Image] At: http://images.wikia.com/tardis/images/3/33/Cyberman2006.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12). Key Individuals

pek. (c. 1936) [Photograph] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Karel-capek.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

ng. (c. 1950s) [Photograph] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0e/Fritz_Lang.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

from Metropolis. (c. 1929) [Film Still] At: http://www.jeffbots.com/maria-large.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

mov. (c. 1965) [Photograph] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Isaac.Asimov01.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12). Dick. (c. Unknown) [Photograph] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/PhilipDick.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

cott. (c. 2007) [Photograph] At: http://www.wired.com/images/article/magazine/1510/ff_scott_580_f.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

Cameron. (c. Unknown) [Photograph] At: http://www.palzoo.net/file/pic/user/James-Cameron.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).

vies. (c. Unknown) [Photograph] At: http://media.avclub.com/images/articles/article/30869/russell-davies_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.1

ermen. (c. 2006) [Promotional Image] At: http://images.wikia.com/tardis/images/3/33/Cyberman2006.jpg (Accessed on 24.03.12).