Isaac Asimov once said of "Robots" that he hoped that they would be gooder
than human beings.
As an English teacher this struck me profoundly. Obviously, this statement contains a horrible mistake in grammar, one, that even my weakest students rarely if ever make.
Now, Mr. Asimov was an award winning novelist, author of well over a hundred books for both fiction and non fiction alike, and editor of one of the major magazines of science fiction.
He had to have made such an egregious mistake for a reason.
Think about it for a moment. He should have said better, but what does that imply?
1. Superior quality or excellence
More highly talented or skilled
Neither of those two ideas was what Mr. Asimov was getting at. I mean robots may be able to see more, move faster, and have a more rapid thought processes, but that was not what he was aiming for.
2. of superior suitability, advisability,
No, I doubt very much that Isaac Asimov wanted robots to replace us.
3. morally superior; more virtuous
This is close to the idea, however, doesn't it sound awful snobby? I think
nicer is the closest to the meaning he was striving for. But some
nice people have done some horrendous things and nicer seems very
So can robots be gooder than mankind? Could they be more innately good, or be filled with more
goodness than we are?
I wrote Good Friday to illustrate this idea: to tell you the story of one robot who I thought was trying very hard to be good.
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(With special thanks to Liliane Bois-Simon and my wife Maguy)
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