The Bicentennial Man

From Academic Kids

"This page has to be splitted in two pages. One for the Book and another for the Movie.

"The Bicentennial Man" is a novella by Isaac Asimov. The story formed the basis of the novel The Positronic Man (1993), co-written with Robert Silverberg, and the 1999 movie Bicentennial Man, which starred Robin Williams. It is a part of Asimov's Robot Series. The story was originally written for the 1976 American bicentennial -- Asimov was one of several authors commissioned to write a story revolving around the phrase "the bicentennial man," which the writers were to interpret in whatever way they chose. The plan was for the stories to be published as an anthology, but this fell through. The novella instead featured Asimov's own short story collection, The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories. It is also included in The Complete Robot collection.

It tells of Andrew (later known as Andrew Martin), a robot that begins to display sentient characteristics, such as creativity, traditionally the province of humans. The robot seeks legal protection stemming from his initial creative output and eventually full recognition as a human, by gradually replacing his robotic components with organic ones, and citing the process as a transformation from robot to human. Succeeding generations of the Martin family (who had originally owned him) assist him in his goal, but each is limited to what degree they are prepared to acknowledge Andrew's humanity.

In The Positronic Man the trends of fictional robotics in Asimov's Robot Series (as outlined in the book I, Robot) are detailed as background events, with an indication that they are influenced by Andrew's story. No more robots in Andrew's line are developed. There is also a movement towards centralized processing, including centralized control of robots, which would avoid any more self-reflecting robots such as Andrew.

Only when Andrew allows his positronic brain to "decay," thereby willfully abandoning his immortality, is he declared a human being. This event takes place on the two-hundredth anniversary of his creation, hence the title.

External links

Preceded by: Series:
Followed by:
Robot Dreams

Robot Series
Foundation Series
Mother Earth

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