"With Folded Hands ..." is a 1947 science fiction novelette by American writer Jack Williamson. Willamson's influence for this story was the aftermath of World War II and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and his concern that "some of the technological creations we had developed with the best intentions might have disastrous consequences in the long run."
The novelette, which first appeared in the July 1947 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, was included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973) after being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965. It was the first of several Astounding stories adapted for NBC's radio series Dimension X.
The story was followed by a novel-length rewrite, with a different setting and inventor. This was serialized, also in Astounding (March, April and May 1948), as ...And Searching Mind, and finally published as The Humanoids (1948). Williamson followed with a sequel, The Humanoid Touch, published in 1980.
|With Folded Hands|
Astounding Science Fiction cover by William Timmins
|Followed by||The Humanoids|
Underhill, a seller of "Mechanicals" (unthinking robots that perform menial tasks) in the small town of Two Rivers, is startled to find a competitor's store on his way home. The competitors are not humans but are small black robots who appear more advanced than anything Underhill has encountered before. They describe themselves as "Humanoids".
Disturbed at his encounter, Underhill rushes home to discover that his wife has taken in a new lodger, a mysterious old man named Sledge. In the course of the next day, the new mechanicals have appeared everywhere in town. They state that they only follow the Prime Directive: "to serve and obey and guard men from harm". Offering their services free of charge, they replace humans as police officers, bank tellers, and more, and eventually drive Underhill out of business. Despite the Humanoids' benign appearance and mission, Underhill soon realizes that, in the name of their Prime Directive, the mechanicals have essentially taken over every aspect of human life. No humans may engage in any behavior that might endanger them, and every human action is carefully scrutinized. Suicide is prohibited. Humans who resist the Prime Directive are taken away and lobotomized, so that they may live happily under the direction of the humanoids.
Underhill learns that his lodger Sledge is the creator of the Humanoids and is on the run from them. Sledge explains that 60 years earlier he had discovered the force of "rhodomagnetics" on the planet Wing IV and that his discovery resulted in a war that destroyed his planet. In his grief, Sledge designed the humanoids to help humanity and be invulnerable to human exploitation. However, he eventually realized that they had instead taken control of humanity, in the name of their Prime Directive, to make humans happy.
The Humanoids are spreading out from Wing IV to every human occupied planet to implement their Prime Directive. Sledge and Underhill attempt to stop the humanoids by aiming a rhodomagnetic beam at Wing IV but fail. The humanoids take Sledge away for surgery. He returns with no memory of his prior life, stating that he is now happy under the humanoids' care. Underhill is driven home by the humanoids, sitting "with folded hands," as there is nothing left to do.
In a 1991 interview, Williamson revealed how the story construction reflected events of his childhood in addition to technological extrapolations:
I wrote "With Folded Hands" immediately after World War II, when the shadow of the atomic bomb had just fallen over SF and was just beginning to haunt the imaginations of people in the US. The story grows out of that general feeling that some of the technological creations we had developed with the best intentions might have disastrous consequences in the long run (that idea, of course, still seems relevant today). The notion I was consciously working on specifically came out of a fragment of a story I had worked on for a while about an astronaut in space who is accompanied by a robot obviously superior to him physically—i.e., the robot wasn't hurt by gravity, extremes of temperature, radiation, or whatever. Just looking at the fragment gave me the sense of how inferior humanity is in many ways to mechanical creations. That basic recognition was the essence of the story, and as I wrote it up in my notes the theme was that the perfect machine would prove to be perfectly destructive... It was only when I looked back at the story much later on that I was able to realize that the emotional reach of the story undoubtedly derived from my own early childhood, when people were attempting to protect me from all those hazardous things a kid is going to encounter in the isolated frontier setting I grew up in. As a result, I felt frustrated and over protected by people whom I couldn't hate because I loved them. A sort of psychological trap. Specifically, the first three years of my life were spent on a ranch at the top of the Sierra Madre Mountains on the headwaters of the Yaqui River in Sonora, Mexico. There were no neighbors close, and my mother was afraid of all sorts of things: that I might be kidnapped or get lost, that I would be bitten by a scorpion and die (something she'd heard of happening to Mexican kids), or that I might be caught by a mountain lion or a bear. The house we were living in was primitive, with no door, only curtains, and when she'd see bulls fighting outside, she couldn't see why invaders wouldn't just charge into the house. She was terrified by this environment. My father built a crib that became a psychological prison for me, particularly because my mother apparently kept me in it too long, when I needed to get out and crawl on the floor. I understand my mother's good intentions—the floor was mud and there were scorpions crawling around, so she was afraid of what might happen to me—but this experience produced in me a deep seated distrust of benevolent protection. In retrospect, I'm certain I projected my fears and suspicions of this kind of conditioning, and these projections became the governing emotional principle of "With Folded Hands" and The Humanoids.
A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy (1660-1663) is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch, it is an example of Dutch Golden Age painting and is part of the collection of the Getty Center.
This painting was documented by Hofstede de Groot in 1908, who wrote; "10. A WOMAN CUTTING BREAD AND BUTTER FOR A BOY, WHO IS SAYING GRACE. Sm. 54; deG. 48. In a room with a window at the back sits a woman, wearing a dark jacket and a blue skirt. She has a loaf of bread in her left hand, and is taking a piece of butter from a plate on a chair at her left. To her right stands a boy with folded hands, clasping his hat to his breast. The room is in subdued light. The open half-door of a passage with tiled floor beyond looks on the street ; the ground before a house opposite is illumined by sunshine. Although the picture has not the brilliant effect so much esteemed, it is a very pleasing and satisfactory example.
Canvas on panel, 26 inches by 20 1/2 inches. Mentioned by Waagen, Supplement, p. 342. Sales. Amsterdam (Hoet, ii. 288), April 16, 1750 (52 florins). Jan Gildemeester Jansz, Amsterdam, June 11, 1800 (415 florins, Yver). A. Meynts, Amsterdam, July 15, 1823 (1450 florins, Brondgeest). In the collection of the Baron J. G. Verstolk van Soelen, The Hague, sold in 1846 as a whole to Thomas Baring, Humphrey Mildmay, and Lord Overstone. Sale. Humphrey Bingham Mildmay, ; London, June 24, 1893, No. 30 (£2625, Colnaghi and Lawrie). Now in the Drummond collection, Montreal."According to the Getty it then came into the collections of Andrew W. Mellon and Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza's Schloss Rohoncz before being purchased by them in 1984.Arko Datta
Arko Datta (born 1969) is an award-winning photojournalist from India.
He was also recognised for his photographs of the Gujarat riots, depicting the plight of victims during the Gujarat riots. Newspapers all over the world recognised one if his photos as "the defining image of Gujarat carnage". The person captured in the picture, with folded hands begging for mercy, became so noted that he (the victim) was forced to migrate first to Malegaon and then to Kolkata to avoid the press and sarcastic comments by society.Over the last two decades, Arko Datta's pictures have been regularly published in leading newspapers and magazines like The New York Times, Washington Post,The Guardian, International Herald Tribune and on the covers of Time magazine, Newsweek, and The Economist etc.Arko Datta is the co-founder of Udaan School of Photography.Artificial intelligence in fiction
Artificial intelligence is a recurrent theme in science fiction, whether utopian, emphasising the potential benefits, or dystopian, emphasising the dangers.
The notion of machines with human-like intelligence dates back at least to Samuel Butler's 1872 novel Erewhon.Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple ಚೆಲುವನಾರಾಯಣ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ is located in Melkote in the Mandya District, Karnataka, India. The place is also known as Thirunarayanapura. It is built on rocky hills known as Yadavagiri or Yadugiri overlooking the Cauvery valley. It is about 30 miles (48 km) from Mysore and 97 miles (156 km) from Bangalore.Jack Williamson
John Stewart Williamson (April 29, 1908 – November 10, 2006), who wrote as Jack Williamson, was an American science fiction writer, often called the "Dean of Science Fiction" after the death of Robert Heinlein in 1988. Early in his career he sometimes used the pseudonyms Will Stewart and Nils O. Sonderlund.Kotpuli
Kotpuli, also known as Kotpuliyar and Kotpuli Nayanar, was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the fifty-seventh in the list of 63 Nayanars.Murkha Nayanar
Murkha Nayanar, also known as Moorka Nayanar, Murka Nayanar, Moorkha Nayanar, Murgga Nayanar, Moorkka Nayanar and Murkhar, is a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the thirty-second in the list of 63 Nayanars.Murthi Nayanar
Murthi Nayanar, also spelt as Murthy Nayanar, Moorthy Nayanar and Murti Nayanar and also known as Murtti, is a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the fifteenth in the list of 63 Nayanars.Music of the Soviet Union
Music of the Soviet Union varied in many genres and epochs. The majority of it was considered to be part of the Russian culture, but other national cultures from the Republics of the Soviet Union made significant contributions as well. The Soviet state supported musical institutions, but also carried out content censorship. According to Lenin, "Every artist, everyone who considers himself an artist, has the right to create freely according to his ideal, independently of everything. However, we are Communists and we must not stand with folded hands and let chaos develop as it pleases. We must systemically guide this process and form its result."Nesa Nayanar
Nesa Nayanar (Tamil: நேச நாயனார்), also known as Sivanesa Nayanar, Neca Nayanar (Necha nayanar), Nesanar, Nesar and Nesan (Necan), was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the fifty-ninth in the list of 63 Nayanars. Nesa Nayanar is described to be a weaver, who was always engrossed in remembering his patron god Shiva and gifting clothes he knit to devotees of the deity.Portrait of an Old Woman with Folded Hands
Portrait of an Old Woman is a c. 1640 portrait painting painted in the style of Jacob Adriaensz. Backer. It shows an old woman with folded hands. It is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Pranāma
Praṇāma (Sanskrit, "obeisance, prostration or bowing forward") is a form of respectful or reverential salutation (or reverential bowing) before something, or another person - usually grandparents, parents, elders or teachers or someone deeply respected such as a deity. It is found in Indian or Hindu culture.Pugazh Thunai Nayanar
Pugazh Thunai Nayanar, also known as Pugazhthunai Nayanar, Pugalthunai Nayanar, Pukazhtthunai Nayanar, Pukazhtthunaiyar and Pukalttunai, was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the fifty-sixth in the list of 63 Nayanars.Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar
Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar is the 16th Nayanar saint. Traditional hagiographies like Periya Puranam (13th century CE) and Thiruthondar Thogai (10th century CE) detail his legendary life and services to the Hindu god Shiva. Pasupathi Nayanar was a learned Brahmin devotee who practised chanting of the Shri Rudram Chamakam, a Vedic hymn dedicated to Rudra (a form of Shiva). Therefore, he is known by the name Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar.Seruthunai Nayanar
Seruthunai Nayanar, also known as Seruthunai (also spelt as Ceruttunai, Cheruthunai and Seruttunai), Seruthunaiyar and Seruttunai Nayanar , was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the 55th in the list of 63 Nayanars.The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two is an English language science fiction two-volume anthology edited by Ben Bova and published in the U.S. by Doubleday in 1973, distinguished as volumes "Two A" and "Two B". In the U.K. they were published by Gollancz as Volume Two (1973) and Volume Three (1974). The original U.S. subtitle was The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time.
Twenty-two novellas published from 1895 to 1962 were selected by vote of the Science Fiction Writers of America, as that body had selected the contents of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964, a collection of the best-regarded short stories. SFWA had been established in 1965 and that publication year defined its first annual Nebula Awards. Introducing the collected novellas, Bova wrote, "The purpose of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies is to bestow a similar recognition on stories that were published prior to 1966 [sic], and thus never had a chance to earn a Nebula."The selection process generated both a top ten stories and a top ten authors.
Although the original publication dates ranged from 1895 to 1962, only two stories were published before 1938, "The Time Machine" by Wells (1895) and "The Machine Stops" by Forster (1909).
Theodore Sturgeon reviewed the anthology favorably, praising the decision to issue it in two volumes rather than scale back the contents.
Bova's introduction thanks Doubleday science fiction editor Larry Ashmead for that.Three Laws of Robotics
The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or known as Asimov's Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround" (included in the 1950 collection I, Robot), although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the "Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.", are:
First Law – A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Second Law – A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Third Law – A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.These form an organizing principle and unifying theme for Asimov's robotic-based fiction, appearing in his Robot series, the stories linked to it, and his Lucky Starr series of young-adult fiction. The Laws are incorporated into almost all of the positronic robots appearing in his fiction, and cannot be bypassed, being intended as a safety feature. Many of Asimov's robot-focused stories involve robots behaving in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as an unintended consequence of how the robot applies the Three Laws to the situation in which it finds itself. Other authors working in Asimov's fictional universe have adopted them and references, often parodic, appear throughout science fiction as well as in other genres.
The original laws have been altered and elaborated on by Asimov and other authors. Asimov himself made slight modifications to the first three in various books and short stories to further develop how robots would interact with humans and each other. In later fiction where robots had taken responsibility for government of whole planets and human civilizations, Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others:
A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.The Three Laws, and the zeroth, have pervaded science fiction and are referred to in many books, films, and other media, and have impacted thought on ethics of artificial intelligence as well.Tingsted Church
Tingsted Church, located on high ground in the village of Tingsted on the Danish island of Falster, dates from c. 1200. Built in the Romanesque style, it is best known for its frescos from the end of the 15th century.Tirukkural translations into English
Tirukkural remains one of the most widely translated non-religious works in the world. As of 2014, there were at least 57 versions available in the English language alone. English, thus, continues to remain the language with most number of translations available of the Kural text.