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Bicentennial Man - The Broken Rule
At the end of the movie Porche orders the robot in the room with her to unplug her, which would kill her. But, this would go agisnt the first rule, mentioned earlier in the movie, A robot must never harm a human being. Even though the second rule states that a robot must follow all orders, the other part of the rules is that the order cannot go aginst the first one. Issac Asmov must be pretty mad!
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Avg. Rating:    5.7 of 10 - (74 votes cast)
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Contributed By:
Klobbersaurus on 01-06-2000
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Comments:
SciFi_fan writes:
Galatea was remade by Burns. Who Knows? He could have changed her pathways so that she would not be affected. Also, according to the Asimov books, there are medical robots and police robots that are specially designed to be able to handle dealing with a person's inflicted harm. Galatea was (at the end) for all intense purposes, a nurse. (She helped Burns do the last operation to Andrew, in essence, he was Andrew's Doctor, and Galatea was the nurse) There have even been robots that have been creatyed without any laws, while still having the positronic brain. (See the novels related to the robot "Calaban.") Eventually, the laws were changed. Don't you think that since Galatea was not "Special" like Andrew that Burns would be unwilling to replace her "Brain?" into something with the new laws? I did notice this however, and I did at first think it was a slip up. But, a robot cannot inflict harm on a human being (Technically she is not harming a human being, she is helping a human being. The "harm" has already been done.) "Or through inaction, cause a human being to come to harm." (Since it was "Harming" Porsha to be alive with all these machines that she did not want keeping her alive, she was acting in order to help Porsha.) (This could though be considered as a robotic paradox, if it were not for these explanations.)
10 of 13 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Omega writes:
Galatea, and it doesn't matter whether she was considered human or not. She still had a positronic brain, and thus could not break the laws. Even Andrew couldn't. The loophole, which was exploited in one of Asimov's robot books (The Robots of Dawn, I believe), is that you can redefine harm and human being in the robot's memory. She could have been reprogrammed to think that it wasn't harm to let an elderly person die if they chose. Or it could have been that she realized that it would have been the greater harm to let Portia continue to live without Andrew.
4 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Gurm writes:
It's implied in the original Bicentennial Man story that by the end Andrew had quite overcome his original programming - capable of being mean to, ignoring orders from, and maybe even hurting people. However, this is more due to Andrew's "unique" brain than anything else, as we see that Daneel Olivaw (sp?) can't overcome his programming over the course of tens of thousands of years in the Robot (and later Foundation) series, and can only hurt people due to his understanding of the 0th law of robotics (no robot shall harm humanity, or by inaction allow humanity to come to harm) which implies a rewrite of the 1st law (no robot shall harm a human, or by inaction allow a human to come to harm - unless such action or inaction would conflict with the 0th law). In the movie, however, we are asked to believe that substantially more time has gone by (yeah, he's 200 years old but gee they've made a lot more progress in 200 years than you might imagine) than really does, and maybe he has completely reprogrammed Galatea? It's wacky. - Gurm
2 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
sarah the legend writes:
This isn't really that relevant, but her name is Portia (pronounced Porsha) not Porche.
2 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Immortality writes:
Please guys. This is a slip-up. Galatea, or any other robot with a positronic brain, couldn't possibly help a human to end his/her life. Read the book! (btw Galatea wasn't even in the book but that isn't the issues here). It just makes this part of the movie more emotional.
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
SciFi_fan writes:
Guys, For the last time, Robots with Positronic brains to not NEED to obey the 3 laws... the three laws are embedded into the Positronic brain during creation of the brain. Someone could have easily have left out the three laws (as did happen in the book: Caliban... In fact, without ruining the ending, of the book, there were several robots, known as "No law" robots. This gave way to the creation of "new law" robots, in which the 3 rules were modified. Read the book: It's by Robert Silverberg AND Isaac Asimov, I believe.) Data from the Star Trek series, who HAS a Positronic brain, is capable of harming a human being (though It's been rare when he has done it...usually a malfunction or something). His brother, who ALSO has a Positronic brain (I believe his name is Lore?) is quite capable of harming many human beings. These are the brains BASED on Isaac Asimov's very own theories (as admitted by Data in an episode of The Next Generation.) So, yes, while rare, a robot with a Positronic brain IS capable of hurting someone. The Positronic brain and the three laws TEND to go together, but not always. I hope this issue has been clarified.
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Major writes:
Firstly, I apologize for any spelling errors in this post. It seems reasonable to me that Galatea would be capable of following Portia's instruction as she did at the end of the film. I think that Galatea, acting in the capacity of a Nurse, would have recognized that prolonging Portia's life at that point would be effectively causing injury to her (she was going to die anyway, and probably painfully). My reasoning here is predicated upon the assumption that Galatea would perceive the concepts of emotional and physical pain as having equal weight in her decision-making logic. Recognizing that it would be kinder to let Portia die than to prolong her life would be sufficient to satisfy the First Law provided that Portia instructed Galatea to let her die (which she effectively did). The Second Law was satisfied by default, as Galatea was following an instruction given to her by Portia. The Third Law wasn't an issue, because disabling Portia's life-support would not present a threat to Galatea. Also, it's a film and the writers needed a bittersweet moment at that point in order to end the arc of both Andrew and Portia in a satisfying way. Writing needs aside, I feel that the way The Laws resolved in this case were within the bounds of what would be expected from a robot in Galatea's position after being given an instruction by the human to which she is subordinate and for whom she evidently has cared for a great deal for a long time.
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Wizard of all things! writes:
I think that by this time, the robot (I forget her name) is considered human, but oh well. I might be wrong
2 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Danny Mutabi writes:
The girl at the end that unpluggs her is the the robot at the shop. Its a different human person
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Todd_Tolensky writes:
HAL broke the laws of robotics. Andrew couldn't overcome the laws, neither did Galatea. And The girl at the end of the movie IS the robot... with the prosthetic skin implant to make human race tolerate them better. And Galatea didn't directly harm Portia, so the second law reigned on that moment. But then, when Portia was dying it was imperative to Galatea to help her. Because a robot cannot let a human being harmed by its inactivity. Got it?
0 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Mindbender writes:
I haven't read the book, but I really don't think it applies as this is a MOVIE, unto itself. In the movie, when they show Andrew and Portia in bed at the end, Galatea is there to imply that she has also begun to follow the course that Andrew has followed and is becoming more human. Therefor she is able to do whatever she wants...including turning off Portia's life support if she wants to whether it's in her programming or not. Immortality: c'mon, make up your mind. You said "Read the book!" to qualify a statement about the plot. Then said "BTW, Galatea isn't even in the book but that's not an issue". Well, which is it? Should we be persuaded by the exact text of the book or not?
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
DrMemory writes:
I doubt Isaac Asmov is mad at the movie -- dead perhaps, but not mad.
0 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
jaeffe writes:
Have you ever heard of HAL?
0 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes


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