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Isaac Asimov: Robotics Essay

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Isaac Asimov: Robotics Essay

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Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov was born on January 2, 1920 in Petrouchi, Russia. His parents were Judah and Anna Asimov. Isaac also has a sister Veronica and a brother Stanley. In 1923 his family immigrated to the United States. He and his family grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In Brooklyn his family ran a small candy and magazine store. This is one of the places where Asimov began to learn about printing. Also it was here that Asimov learned good business and self-discipline skills (Bloom, 251).

Asimov attended school and was a very bright student. He went to college at Columbia University. He graduated from there with his master's degree in Chemistry in 1941. His career was cut short though because in 1942 he moved to Philadelphia Naval Yard to work for the war. In 1945 he entered the army. In July of 1946 he was discharged from the army and he moved around for a few years till settling in West Newton, Massachusetts with Gertrude. It is there that he raised his family (Seiler,8).

Asimov married Gertrude Blugerman on July 26th, 1942. They met on a blind date on Valentine's Day. In 1955 their first son was born they named him David. Four years later their daughter Robyn Joan was born. Asimov met another woman Janet Jepson at a mystery writers banquet. The two of them were immediately attracted to one another. In 1970 when Gertrude and Asimov separated he moved in with Janet. His divorce to Gertrude was officialized on November 16th, 1973. On November 30th, 1973 an official of the Ethical Culture Society married Asimov and Janet in her home. They did not have any

children (7).

Asimov worked for many years of his life before become just a writer. His first job was in 1929. When Asimov's mother became ill and could no longer work at the family business. This is where Asimov first learned his skills he would carry for the rest of his life. He was a hardworking diligent man. After the war and everything Asimov became an instructor at the Boston University of medicine. He was promoted to assistant professor in December of 1951. On July 1st, 1958 he gave up his teaching job and became a writer. Finally in 1979 he was promoted to professor (9).

Being a very diligent writer Asimov wrote more than eight hours a day, seven days a week. Although he was also preoccupied with writing he made time to get out and do things. In 1971 he joined the Dutch Treat Club. They were a group who met every Tuesday at a hotel for lunch. Another group, which Asimov was a part of, was the Baker Street Irregulars. This was a group of Sherlock Holmes fans. And although Asimov admitted to not liking Holmes that much he did love to make toasts and speeches at banquets. One of his favorite things to do was sing and he belonged to 2 other groups the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. There were two additional societies, which Asimov belonged to that influenced some of his stories (10).

At the young age of eleven years old Asimov began writing. With his first attempt at writing he began The Greenville Chums at College. This was a story based on the lives of 3 young boys living in a small town. At first Asimov gave up writing, for he did not think he knew what he was doing. However, his whole attitude changed when at school one day he told the story he had written. His friend was impressed with it and wanted to borrow the book when Asimov finished it. This gave Asimov the confidence he needed to begin a writing career that would last a lifetime. Asimov's first published writing was in his high school's newspaper column. He wrote a humorous story called "Little Brothers."(12)

Asimov's first published story was in 1939 it was entitled "Marooned Off Vesta". This story was featured in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. The astounding publisher of this magazine was John W. Campbell Jr. He and Asimov had a close relationship and it was this that gave Asimov his beginning of a prosperous career. Asimov wrote mainly science fiction stories about robots. His themes of his stories were mainly based around his ideas that robots were rational programmable beings and friendly towards humans (Bloom, 251).

Asimov's stories are mainly based around science fiction. He was a very intelligent man and this showed through in his stories. They were very technologically advanced. Asimov was fascinated with robots. He wrote mainly of their adventures. All of his stories shared a main theme. This theme was derived from the 3 laws of robotics as Asimov had formed them. They are:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second laws. (Magill, 877)

These laws are apparent in all of Asimov's stories about robots. The plots of his stories used these laws and tested them. In many of his stories he compares robots to humans, and illustrates humans' fear of machines.

Religion is a main influence for Asimov's stories. Asimov was an atheist. He believed in nothing at all. In fact he considered religion harmful to people. " I would not be satisfied to have my kids choose to be religious without trying to argue them out of it, just as I would not be satisfied to have them decide to smoke regularly or engage in any other practice I consider detrimental to mind or body"(qtd. In Brummond, 3). So Asimov really did not like religion. He had proclaimed many times that he had no faith but more often than not in stories religion was present. In one of his most famous stories the entire story is based around the Christianity story. This story has a negative outlook for at the end destruction is apparent and that resembles how Christians fear hell. In most of Asimov's stories if religion is present but it is not to glorify it (Brummond, 1).

Another influence to Asimov's stories was two of the societies to which he belonged. One society The Wodehouse Society Asimov used the butler Jeeves in many of his stories. This character played a major part of Asimov's Black Widower stories



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