The materials presented the first week serve as an introduction
as to what a robot is. They also help us understand the boundaries between
man and machine.
The film "Tesla, Master of Lightning" deals with an interesting
individual. On one hand, Tesla was a creator, who tries to control the
world around him. On the other hand, the people he worked with constantly
manipulated and took advantage of him. In addition, Tesla himself attempted
to "dehumanize" himself by trying to eliminate some of his human aspects,
like his desire for sex and money. Tesla was therefore a robot-like
human in many ways.
The Robot in the Garden reading deals with telepresence
÷ again testing our understanding of what a human really is.
Finally, R.U.R. challenges us with the original concept
of the robot we think of today ÷ an artificial life form designed to
work for its creator, but with the potential to overthrow the human
race. By the end of the play, the robots have developed "souls" and
self-awareness, and indeed do overthrow the humans who created them.
It is most likely this Ńsoulť that distinguishes us from
the machine ÷ the robot soul being a recurring theme in robot-related
literature and film. Perhaps this is the border between man and machine,
as the physical line between us blurs daily.