Phys/CSci 135: Robotics exploration studio
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Assignment 1: Robbie

Due: 8:10am, Wednesday, September 2. Value: 60 pts.

After reading the short story Robbie in I, Robot, write a short (2-3 pages) essay that includes answers to these questions:

  1. Based on your everyday experience of technology, does Robbie seem to you like it could be built today?
  2. Select three features of Robbie. For each feature, assess whether you believe that feature could be built today. Describe evidence to back up your claims. Relate these assessments to your answer to the previous question.
  3. Do you think the author intends to portray Robbie as a simple automaton, mindlessly following its programming, or as a self-aware sentient being like you or I? Why?
  4. The story was written in 1940, so 1998 seemed far in the future at the time. Briefly state at least one technological device in the story that existed by 1998, and at least one device (other than Robbie!) that does not yet exist.