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Lecture 9

ENGL 246 Lecture 9: May 31-Rossum's Universal Robots

Course Code
ENGL 246
Mark Rozahegy

of 3
May 31, 2016
Russom’s universal robots
Capek: 1920
Robot: automaton, better than humans – actors, luxury
Robots as workers/labour: Rossum Sr.: living beings, perfection, vibrant living thing, ectoplasm
Rossum junior: efficient laborer robots, his drive is money
Living matter
Mimic humans: components related to being a good worker
They want to synthesize living matter
Organizing living matter to produce life/nature vs synthetic manner which is faster, simpler,
flexible (this is substancially different)
Rossum senior sees his robots as evolution
Rossum senior is about imitating nature, he wants to make people
You synthesize human beings, but they are made of a different substance
Technology/junior: producing people artificially
It is the production itself that is artificial as opposed to just the person
He wants to produce faster/set up for industrial production
They produce about 300M robots
They want to make living, intelligent working machines, not people
They are a technological product
God is irrelevant because he knew nothing about technology, so he’s not an issue anymore
Rossum senior is closer to technê/art
Junior is closer to enframing
oOn an island, it seems to be beyond nationality/the bounds of a country
oHelena/old Europe
oFactory itself/robots
oAct I is ten years later
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oRobots are universal/they have no personalities
oThere is no need to build consensus, they are universal
oThey now have universal workers, no nationality
oThe island itself is universal: homogeneity
oThrough the sale of these robots, you create homogety across the entire world because
there are just these robots
oHelena wants to see secrets behind the robots and to incite revolution to incite robots
to liberate themselves, she feels they have been enslaved and should have free will
oShe wants them to get rights
Domin: CEO of Rossum’s
Helena has a bias towards robots
She wants to provide robots with more human attributes
She wants to humanize them through love
This involves idea that they are lesser than humans, she wants to make them greater
She says they lack a soul as they are silent, don’t have emotions
Helena is convinced that sulla is human
Robots are made and wear out
We are old Europeans arriving on the island
In the beginning, the robots are not afraid to die, later in the play, those leading the revolution
are afraid of death, this happens when the robots are made more human
In the beginning, the robots have no enjoyment, so they don’t care if they live, there is no value
to it for them
All six men behave technologically, like the robots
They are all about production, etc.
They are all driven by the same idea, them and robots do not behave differently
This is not about replacing us or perfecting the human being
It is to perfect human labour
We are already seen as a human reserve, and that is very easy to replace with robots
Consequence of human labour being replaced: no more children, the excess labour made us
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The robots are sterile, can’t procreate
If all the humans die, then no one can make the robots, so everyone will die
Helena has difficulty with r’s, she has a stutter, it is a characteristic that her robot also has
Individual vs. collective
There is a universal aspect that crushes individuality
Some robots gain individuality
There is hope at the end of the play and love
Robot’s purpose is work
Helena moves towards a new life form developing
Helena/Primus is described as beautiful, but unnecessary and useless
If robots aren’t for work, they aren’t there, besides Helena robot
Domin is interested in an uber-individual society full of freedom, it is self-improvement and
Robots listen to music and sort of recognize it, but can’t because it is useless and spiritual
Man becomes more spiritual
Business of making robots
Helena/Primus relate to life
Human life becomes without value from the goods having value since we have so much
Over time robots have changes/evolved
They introduce pain sensors to the robots, this is to avoid the robots damaging themselves
This introduces the idea of feedback (relates to Ellul)
The robots become more human and the humans become more robotic
By the end, damon doesn’t want to die and he clings to life
At the end, robots are in love, even if they cannot express, as they are willing to sacrifice
themselves for one another, not afraid to die
They become new Adam and eve (Helena/Primus)
Love story because everyone, including domin instantly falls in love with Helena when she
removes her veil
Helena gives idea that if you nurture a robot with love, then they will become more human
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