Reflecting on the Personality of Artificiality: Reading Asimov’s Film Bicentennial Man through Machine Ethics

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Abstract

The film Bicentennial Man (1999) pictured in a nutshell a robot who/that became human via his personality by plunging into the realities of freedom and death. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the notion of personality in the case of what this paper coins as a ‘robot-incarnate’ with the name Andrew, the first man who lived for two hundred years from his inception as an artificial machine. The method of exposition proceeds from (1) utilizing a philosophical reflection on the film concerning the determinacy of Andrew as a person and (2) then anchoring his case as a subject for the understanding of machine ethics. Regarding the first, the paper focuses on the questions of personality, death, and freedom. Regarding the second, the paper exposes the discussions of machine ethics and the issue of moral agency. Deducing from the already existing literature on the matter, the paper concludes that machine ethics must stand as the principle that serves as law and limitation to any scientific machine advancement showing promising potentials.

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