THE POSITRONIC MAN An extraordinary story about an extraordinary robot.
In the twenty-first century the creation of the positronic brain leads to the development of robot labourers and revolutionises life on Earth. However, to the Martin family, their household robot NDR-113 is more than a tool, it is a trusted friend, a confidant, and a member of the family. Through some unknown manufacturing glitch, NDR-113 or known as Andrew has been blessed, with a capacity for love and a drive toward self-awareness and development that are almost...human.
This story is set on an Earth, which is just starting to get used to the idea of robots. Even so, it is an earth that was not ready for Robot NDR-113. Andrew, with his ability to assimilate emotions, and an unexpected gift for fine arts, both astounded and worried people. In an attempt to become human, he develops several prosthetic devices, which prove a godsend to humans.
Almost, however, is not enough. Andrew's dream is to become accepted as human. Facing human prejudice, the laws of robotics, and his own mechanical limitations, Andrew used science and law in his quest for the impossible, arriving at last at a terrifying choice: to make his dream a reality, he must pay the ultimate price.
I must say that I didn't have very high expectations for this book because I am not a very big science fiction fan, but this book changed my mind. There are many reasons why this particular book changed my view on science fiction. One of the major reasons for my enjoyment of this book is the way in which it was written. Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg set this story up wonderfully. I personally liked the way the book is structured. The first chapter takes place at the end of the story so you start thinking about what is going to happen right from the start. Then, as you near then end of the story you return to where you began in the first chapter and finish the story with a thought provoking ending.
Another major reason that I liked this particular story is because it touched on many ethical aspects, from different points of view. Such as, what it means to be human, how humans in general would be perceived by an intelligence that has no knowledge about the way we as human's reason or think. The authors also showed how humans will react when they find out that they can create a being with the ability to not just think in a logical pattern but also be creative and intelligent well beyond their own abilities. It was for this reason that the Three Laws of Robotics were created; to assuage the fears we will have of superior beings.
The Three Laws of Robotics: 1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law By telling the story from the robot's point of view the book was able to show how we as humans would be perceived, by an intelligent robot that begins as a child with full talking and thinking capabilities and slowly comes to know what it is to be human. What we consider a simple gesture or saying would seem confusing to this robot (full grown child). This story enables us to view everyday commonplace events through a different pair of eyes. Things such as emotions, ageing and death are some examples of events and processes that would seem so illogical to a being that can only think in logical terms.
What does it mean to be human? Must you have a heart? Or does being human depend on the ability to have and show emotions? This story shows what it means to be human. The dictionary states, that human is having human form and or attributes. Well Andrew had human form in his android body and had most all human characteristics and attributes. So why would he not be considered human? He shows all the traits of being human, except for the fact that his soul is housed in a metal android body whereas humans have cellular structure. Andrew spent all two hundred years of his life trying to be more human, but in the end the only thing that changed public opinion and the law, was that he would rather die a man than live an eternity as a robot. So Andrew arranged for his protective systems to be removed so his brain would deteriorate just like ageing human. So this ultimately showed how human Andrew was.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I would say that this books target audience is aimed more towards the seasoned science fiction reader. I would definitely recommend this book to people that I know are interested in psychology and or futuristic literature. I would recommend this book because of its uniqueness about the life of a robot and its ideas.