Explain the following plot points from the movie Short Circuit and provide your analysis: 1.Why does Number 5 become important? How does this happen? This film was one of the first that shows human...

Explain the following plot points from the movie Short Circuit and provide your analysis:

1.Why does Number 5 become important? How does this happen? This film was one of the first that shows human characters interacting with a robot or mechanical creature.

2.Why was this important to the mid-80’s when this film was made?

3.What questions does this movie pose to the view about the role and use of technology in the military industrial complex? 

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hello! Short Circuit was a 1986 science fiction movie highlighting the idea of sentient robots and its ramifications for society.

1.Why does Number 5 become important? How does this happen?

In the movie, Number 5 belongs to a special series of robots created by NOVA laboratories for the purposes of fighting the Cold War. He becomes important when he is struck by lightning: to re-align his programming, he is sent to the workshop for repairs. However, along the way, he seemingly develops a human-like curiosity about his surroundings. His exploration leads him to wander off the grounds and he eventually ends up in town. Because of the unusual development of human characteristics, Number 5 is now deemed dangerous by Sgt. Skroeder, NOVA's security chief, and the military. They scramble to get to him before the public finds out that there is a sentient robot on the loose.

2.Why was this important to the mid-80’s when this film was made?

The 80's was an exciting time for technology. This was the time home computers took the world by storm. Although they were mainly used for playing games, the public was enthused with the idea of having this technology in their homes.

Movies like The Empire Strikes Back (1980),The Return Of The Jedi (1983) and Blade Runner (1982) further piqued the interest of the public regarding the role of technology in their lives. Blade Runner's sentient replicants (bio-engineered robots) were literally indistinguishable from humans; used for off-planet harsh and dangerous work, some eventually decided that they wanted a different life and made their escape to Earth. Likewise, the iconic C3PO and R2D2 sentient robots in the first Star Wars trilogy won the hearts of Star Wars enthusiasts everywhere. So, by the time Short Circuit (1986) came along, the public were more than ready to consider the possibility of bio-engineered robots within our midst.

3.What questions does this movie pose about the role and use of technology in the military industrial complex? 

Here's an interview by the director of Short Circuit. He talked about war and the role technology played in warfare. He felt his movie was relevant in asking the modern questions of our time regarding the development of weapons of warfare within our military programs. Some pertinent questions he raised:

1)What place do drones and military robots have in our quest to defend our country?

2)Will using such technology further our safety at the sacrifice of our humanity?

3)Will sentient robots ever be possible considering the fact that abstract thinking and free-will are inherently human characteristics?

I hope this helps. Thanks for the question!

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