For an article I'm writing, I'm looking for a quote from Asimov's Daneel or Giskard (I don't remember which one). In this quote, one of the robots explains that he can't feel happiness, but his circuits run better and his whole functioning is more efficient. I think it could also be Bliss, but I doubt it

Who said this and in which book? (exact quote would be amazing, and in Spanish just perfect, but well, any clue would be great)

  • I remember this quote must be from the second or the first book of the Robots cycle. Or maybe third. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 18:38
  • @Gallifreyan Or maybe even fourth ;)
    – isanae
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:08
  • @isanae I didn't read Robots and Empire yet :( Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:10
  • @Gallifreyan It's a nice tie-in with the later Foundation books and a very good story, but it's missing Elijah. It's just not the same.
    – isanae
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:12
  • 1
    @Gallifreyan Push through. The stuff with Gladia is secondary, it's the discussions between Giskard and Daneel that make the story. Asimov wrote his best robot stuff in that book.
    – isanae
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:16

3 Answers 3


I found it! It's in the third book of the Robots cycle, The Robots of Dawn (chapter 2: "Daneel"), and said by Daneel, as you correctly guess (emphasis mine):

“Of a certainty, Partner Elijah. It is a pleasure to see you.”

“You feel emotion, do you?” said Baley lightly.

“I cannot say what I feel in any human sense, Partner Elijah. I can say, however, that the sight of you seems to make my thoughts flow more easily, and the gravitational pull on my body seems to assault my senses with lesser insistence, and that there are other changes I can identify. I imagine that what I sense corresponds in a rough way to what it is that you may sense when you feel pleasure.”

Perfect fanfic material, that.

To find it I had to try search strings like "happy", "happier", "happiness", "circuits", "makes me", "makes my", to no success. Right before giving up I tried "emotion", and voila!

A Spanish translation (Los robots del amanecer, by Maria Teresa Segur Giralt) is as follows:

—Sientes emoción, ¿verdad? —preguntó Baley con ligereza.

—No puedo expresar lo que siento en un sentido humano, compañero Elijah. Sin embargo, te diré que el verte hace que mis pensamientos fluyan más fácilmente, y la fuerza gravitacional de mi cuerpo parece asaltar mis sentidos con menos insistencia, y que hay otros cambios que no sé identificar. Me imagino que lo que siento corresponde aproximadamente a lo que tú puedes sentir cuando estás complacido.

  • 1
    this was the one, thank you! :)
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 19:36
  • 6
    Added a Spanish translation. I knew it'd be in the third book! That's why I looked there last... Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 19:47
  • ha ha, I had translated it myself, but this one is certainly great!
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:23
  • 1
    @Devin If you end up using this translation, note that there's an error in the Spanish: there are other changes I can identify. is translated as hay otros cambios que no sé identificar which means the exact opposite., It should be something like hay otros cambios que puedo identificar.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 8:35
  • 2
    @Devin I doubt it. It makes more sense that a robot is perfectly capable of identifying every change precisely. I read that as meaning "I feel this thing and also some other things". It would be strange if the robot couldn't identify them, after all. Also, I confirmed the quote is the same here.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 16:39

There is also this quote from Robots and Empire:

"Are you pleased that you will be seeing Elijah Baley again?"

"I am not certain, Madam Gladia, how best to describe my inner state. It may be that it is analogous to what a human being would describe as being pleased."

"But you must feel something."

"I feel as though I can make decisions more rapidly than I can ordinarily; my responses seem to come more easily; my movements seem to require less energy. I might interpret it generally as a sensation of well-being. At least I have heard human beings use that word and feel that what it is intended to describe is something that is analogous to the sensations I now experience."

Interestingly, when Gladia asks whether Daneel would mind if she saw Elijah in private instead, he says this:

"No, Madam Gladia, for I would have a feeling of well being at fulfilling your orders."

"Your own pleasant feeling is Third Law, and fulfilling my orders is Second Law, and Second Law takes precedence. Is that it?"

"Yes, madam."

  • Oh, wow - I think I actually read that part! Or maybe I didn't... In any case - great find! Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:17
  • @Gallifreyan To be fair, Asimov seemed to like writing about the robot equivalent of emotions, so variations of this quote are present in many of his stories.
    – isanae
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:18
  • I see. I rather liked those in the novels, and I liked the first part of Robots and Empire when Giskard and Daneel have their non-verbal banter. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:21
  • Now that I read this, it could have been this specific one, both quotes are quite similar, and I have read all books from the Foundation and Robots series as well. Since Gallifreyan answered first and I gave that answer for correct, I'll leave it like that, but this certainly deserves an upvote, would love to be able to choose both answers
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:22
  • 6
    @Devin The standard procedure in this case is to alternate the check mark between the two answers every day until a mod threatens you with a banhammer, at which point the last answer you selected wins. There was a meta post about it, I think.
    – isanae
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:26

This sounds like Galley Slave by Isaac Asimov. The robot Easy (EZ-27) is speaking to his owner, Professor Ninheimer.

"Pleasant? That is an odd word for a-uh-a mechanism without emotion. I've been told you have no emotion."
"The words of your book go in accordance with my circuits," Easy explained. "They set up little or no counterpotentials. It is in my brain paths to translate this mechanical fact into a word such as 'pleasant.' The emotional context is fortuitous."
"I see. Why do you find the book pleasant?"
"It deals with human beings, Professor, and not with inorganic materials or mathematical symbols. Your book attempts to understand human beings and to help increase human happiness."
"And this is what you try to do and so my book goes in accordance with your circuits? Is that it?"
"That is it, Professor."

  • I'm not sure this is it, but it's close. I'll take a look in my copy of I, Robot or maybe one of the Elijah Bailey books.
    – Shokhet
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 18:54
  • it was the other answer, but this one helps me a lot with my article, many thanks (and of course upvoted!)
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 19:37
  • 3
    @Devin - Glad to hear it. Interesting that it turned out to be an almost identical quote. Asimov didn't have any problems with plagiarising himself :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:03
  • 3
    @Valorum It's not Asimov being unoriginal, it's just Daneel's brain having a long design legacy all the way back to EZ's :P
    – Schilcote
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 20:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.