Bicentennial Man - The movie
You are going to discover the movie "Bicentennial Man" which was adapted from the famous science fiction short story "The Bicentennial Man" written by Isaac Asimov
The idea of Progress
- Through this first video extract, we can witness the arrival of a NDR-114 in the house of a rich family. It shows that in a near future, we might be able to order domestic robots to help us with daily tasks. This would represent a great progress since it would allow to spend more time on other things that would be more important or more more entertaining.
- It also shows what robotics could accomplish in the future if we pursue in that direction. With this movie, we can see another use of robots; something that would be as groundbreaking as the arrival of the first smartphones or the development of the internet.
- In the second video extract, we can see Andrew capable of carving beautiful objects. The question raised here is: would robots surpass humans? If yes, then what would become of humans if our own existence is no longer a necessity? So, with making great technological progress, trying to imitate life, what would happen if we really succeeded in that task? Wouldn’t that mean the end of humanity?
Space and exchange
- What is really relevant in these video extracts is the way humans behave towards a machine that looks like them.
- In the first video, we can witness very different reactions when the robot is switched on. We see these differences because a humanoid robot is right in what we call « the uncanny valley ». In other words, it looks real… but anyway something’s wrong and the whole thing is weird.
- For Richard Martin, the robot is a blessing and it’s unique. He is even considered as a person since the NDR-114 has a name.
- For Dennis Mansky, it is a mere « household appliance ». Nothing more than a sophisticated machine.
- What is interesting in those videos is the way people interact with machines depending on its external aspect. Nobody would ever try and have a conversation with a phone even if this one can answer. To have a real exchange, we must feel like we are speaking to a similar being, hence the anthropomorphism.