Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
The Fates of Three Robots

Three robots on Planet Tatooine share their individual fate after being sold by the Jawas to their new masters. The first robot, Alpha, said proudly to the other two robots, “My master is a space traveler, he had bought me because I am the smartest robot of all, I will accompany him everywhere he goes, and I'll surely go where no robot has gone before!” The second robot, Betha, also said with pride, “My master is a farmer, so I'll assist him in his work and I'll live in his house with his family, I'll learn more and understand about humans. That way I have a chance to become more human.” The third robot, Gamma, being bought by a junkyard owner, couldn't compete in boosting his fate to his other two friends, he finally said, “I hope my master will not deactivate me and take me apart to be sold as parts in his junkyard.” After having had their brief chat, the three robots went their separate ways.

One hundred years later, coming from his journey through the stars, Alpha went back to Planet Tatooine. Thinking that he was the ultimate robot, he was amazed at all the robots that walked the planet because they were all more sophisticated than he is right now. Some time later, realizing that Alpha was out of date, his master sold him to the junkyard owner where Gamma works. Gamma who saw Alpha, startled him with his words, “Hi fellow, do you remember me?” “Sorry, I cannot recall knowing any new robot in Tatooine,” Alpha replied. And so Gamma introduced himself to the puzzled robot saying, “I am Gamma, human-cyborg relations. Since my master has a workshop, I had been modified from time to time. No wonder you had not noticed me because of my new appearance and my new voice. More over, I can do any task faster than I use to.” For a moment without pride, Alpha could only just stand there and stare at the new improved Gamma without a word. Betha who was also in the neighborhood that time and with plenty of experience with the human family didn't look happy and said, “I am now busy working in the field, doing my routines, without learning anything to improve myself since the other robots that my master recently bought got to get the good life in the house living with the family.” After having had their brief chat, Betha went back to the field. And deep inside his processor, Alpha hopes that his new master will modify him like he had done to Gamma. But unfortunately, after sometime in the junkyard, his master deactivates and disassembles Alpha to take his parts for other use because he was too old to be upgraded.

Moral: The robots in the fable may describe the process of diffusion of innovation along with the process of Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The robot who worked in the junkyard was constantly being modified and updated according to the owners’ need and recent technology, therefore similar to applying the stages in the SDLC where the cycle goes repeatedly even though the product (ex: software application) is implemented. The robot who works in the field would be a secondary system that is still being used by an organization that already has a better system for its business core. The robot that went on a trip in space for a long time ended up being dismantled because he became an old system that cannot be applied anymore due to a newer system that had been invented.

The moral of the story is not to be proud of having a relatively advanced system, software application, product, or even service, and resisting to evolve according to the market and customer needs because what is certain in the business environment is change.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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