By Mike Derderian
An anthropomorphic robot stands gazing at two opposite mirrors. There he sees an endless glass corridor where a thousand reflection of his metallic visage also appears but in a darker shade. His positronic brain begins to download those images in hope of finding an answer to a question that has been haunting him for quite a time, a lifetime—then again, do robots have a life in the first place?
His incept date goes back to the year 2025; now it is the year 2183, and all those he worked for, met and knew have died. One thing though still lingers in his electronic cerebrum, and that is the question: What am I, if I am not a human?
Many fail to realize that a newly assembled robot—no matter how sophisticated it appears to be—is like a newborn baby. It has no experience at all. From the very first day it comes out of the assembly line, its intellect and action are bound within “The Three Laws of Robotics” that were written by Alfred Lanning, the director of US Robotics and Mechanical Men, in order to avoid the inevitable—and what the ordinary man fears most—which is robot supremacy.
“If it is perfect and human then it must be one of ours,” that was USR’s motto that encouraged people to buy NS5s in the first place. But in order simulate human emotions scientists and developers decided to give it synthetic consciousness.
The simpler models failed to fully comprehend the human emotions; however, in time the advanced ones and the long warranty androids began to develop their own set of emotions, judgments and autonomy, and with it our war began.
As much as I love robots, I fear what the future installs for us humans, for day by day fiction is becoming closer to reality, and if you have seen Alex Proyas’ 2004 I, Robot then you know what I mean. The Cinerama manual says: If you’ve see it on screen then one day it will be real.
This 115-minute futuristic film that was inspired by Issac Asimov’s story collection of the same title stars Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood, Chi McBride and Fiona Hogan as the voice of VIKI.
I, Robot captures Asimov’s futuristic visions and the essence of his robotic cognizant characters that are seeking the same existential answers as their masters: The humans.
The first time I heard of “The Three Laws of Robotics” was in Asimov’s simplified version of Liar! And here they are, as I first read them as an 11th grader; the first law: He may not injure a human being, or, through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. The second law: He must obey the orders given to him by human beings except where such orders would be against the first law. The third law: He must protect himself as long as such protection is not against the first or second law.
You’ll be able to read them again in the film’s opening titles in which Proyas included glimpses of a tragic accident that was behind Del Spooner’s (Smith) unexplainable hatred for robots and technology.
In the movie, someone takes a dive—which in American film’s detective terminology means a person committed suicide by jumping out of a window—so they call detective Spooner. Then the film picks up pace after Spooner chases a potential murder suspect: A free-willed NS5 that likes to call itself Sonny. If there was a poll on the greatest robotic character in cinema history the mild-mannered robot that was voiced by Alan Tudyk, who brilliantly gave the robotic character a warm and friendly voice, will definitely be one of the leading runner-ups.
Of course no one could top Darth Vader but then again he’s not all robotic for he comes from a different genre of robots generally known as cyborgs—half-man and half-machine androids. By the way on May 19 Jordanian Star Wars fans will be able to witness for the first time in history how Anakin Skylwalker was drawn to the dark side of the force and became the evil Lord Vader. Don’t you just love the guy? I mean, I remember when I was a child the only movie villain I wanted to ever be when I grow up was Darth Vader—but when I heard how much the suit costs I decided to become a writer.