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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A feel of the Asenion bug

by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
August 2, 2004; posted at the www.thefreeman.com

CALL this writer’s itch—the “Asenion bug”. Lemme explain. Five hours ago before I penned down this article, I was pricked by the thought of getting my personal NS5 robot.

Yesireee, you read me right! A personal NS5 robot, not for the sole purpose of security or domestic work, but a feel of Isaac Asimov and his one great love for robotics with which the science fiction-thriller-action-adventure Will Smith-starrer “I, Robot” had drawn inspiration.

If I were teaching in school today, I would have made “I, Robot” a required viewing material for my students who I know will equally get the same burning sensation of the Asenion bug’s bites that openly attack the mind but stealthily assault the spirit, the emotions.

Well, 19th-century science-fictionist Isaac Asimov (pronounced EYE’zik AA’zi-mov) had his name misspelled when in 1939 he submitted works to Planet Stories which printed his name as “Isaac Asenion”. A friend took great delight in referring to him as “Asenion” thereafter. Later on, he referred to positronic robots (with The Three Laws) in one of his works as “Asenion” robots.

Now why would I want the youngsters to have a feel of the Asenion bug? One bite allows the audience to ponder on the call to have some sensitivity, substantiality and sensibility in humanity’s dealings with the problems of society.

The Asenion bug goes past flashy computer gimmickry and the unfathomable existence of a God or of the afterlife. It expounds on man’s responsibility for all of the problems of society as well as the great achievements throughout history. It leaves behind the sting of the hard-to-accept fact that neither good nor evil is produced by supernatural beings, and that the solution to the problems of humankind can be found without divine intervention.

This Asenion bug is a strong proponent of scientific reasoning, adamantly opposed creationists, religious zealots, pseudo-sciences and mysticism. But this doesn’t mean that Asimov opposed genuine religious feeling in others. The bug will show that he is an atheist, alright, but he wouldn’t want superstition to masquerade as religion either. He still had a great interest in the Bible, and wrote several books about it, most notable are the two-volume Asimov’s Guide to the Bible and The Story of Ruth.

And well, the Asenion bug pricks us with the fact that robots have become inevitable because we crave to have them to co-exist with us. Whether these machines are destructive as we might program them to have the power to wage a war against us, or whether they are safe as they are non-rational, the main concern here is how far would our inventions lead us. How much good will our quest to develop and integrate artificial intelligence do in our lives?

The Asenion bug bit me. There’s so much more to ALEC (Access Linkage to Electronic Computers of the Compu-Wiz Series), to DARYL (Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform of Terminator I), to VIKI (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence) and Sonny both of I, Robot. Indeed, there is so much power in man’s imagination, but there is also sanity that we have to properly harness to preserve ourselves.©

7/21/2006 07:09:00 PM | Anonymous eFxS0Rw0KM said....   

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