Chapter 4: Catch the Rabbit
Explain the merits behind the motto “No employee makes the same mistake twice. He is fired the first time” (p. 83). Is this a good or bad policy? For what type of industry would this be good? Why? Would you like to work under such a motto? What would the motto mean for advancement or innovation?
Isaac Asimov wrote this novel in the 1940s. Like all science fiction, he uses contemporary items and situations, but makes them more useful or just bigger, stronger, and faster (or smaller, more efficient, and faster). For instance, on p. 84 Powell is reading a handbook. Apparently, this handbook is so important that he’d run naked from a burning building to save it. Is that necessary? Update Asimov’s science and technology (especially communication technologies) for a “real” twenty-first-century (2061 in fact) audience. Pull ideas from the entire book if you’d like. You aren’t supposed to find everything; instead, find enough for at least five pages. (Hint: consider customs as well as items–workday issues, food, drink, smoke, etc.)
Create a robot “personality” test and describe its purpose. What does it say about robots? Why is such a test important? You may want to consider this essay a persuasive appeal to anti-robot groups or legislators who distrust robots.
Explain why you think robots are constantly improving. What are the implications (economic, social, personal) and what do they parallel today? In other words, how are robots similar to computers? Think about the whole picture–economics, distribution, marketability, etc.
Interesting. Even in the future, redheads are fiery hot-tempered individuals. Analyze why redheads are considered so ill mannered. You may do a report that discusses Powell’s temper and how it’s directly related to (or supplemented by) his red hair. What are the implications of having red-headed engineers and scientists?
What technical communication issues does this novel raise for us–twenty-first-century people?