Segregationist (short story)

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"Segregationist" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. The story was written in April 1967 and was first published in December in Abbottempo, a magazine produced by Abbott Laboratories, then later included in the collections Nightfall and Other Stories (1969), The Complete Robot (1982) and Robot Visions (1990).

Plot summary[edit]

The story depicts a future where robotic prosthetics for humans and artificially-created organic body-parts for robots (known as Metallos) are commonplace. Metallos have been granted equal status with 'normal' humans.

A man, who has been granted the right to long life (possibly immortality) by an official Board of Mortality, meets the surgeon who is to assist in the performance of heart replacement surgery on the man. The surgeon offers him a choice between a metallic or fibrous cyber-heart. The man stubbornly refuses the doctor's attempts to persuade him to accept a fibrous heart, saying that it's "weak," as compared to a metal heart.

Later, the surgeon remarks to a medical engineer that he would rather that humans and robots stick to being what they are instead of becoming similar. The engineer calls such talk "segregationist", to which the surgeon replies that he "doesn't care." At the end of the story, the surgeon is revealed to be a robot himself.

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