The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future–a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.
Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world–all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov’s trademark. – Goodreads
I, Robot Review
Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot deserves it’s place in the Hallowed Halls of Classic Science Fiction. This collection of short stories, which showcases the development of artificial intelligence, is exquisitely well-crafted. I can only imagine how groundbreaking these piece must have been when they were written. Even though AI hasn’t taken the exact steps that Asimov lays out, it’s still a near prophetic look at its development. From the robot nanny most of us had not heard about, to the deceptive robot everyone knows from the Will Smith I, Robot, it’s a believable evolution of robotics.
I, Robot is not for everyone. Asimov’s writing is dry, and entirely lacking in flair. He does not wrap his stories in pretty words. He does not pad them out with yards of description. Instead, he tells exactly the story he sets out to tell, in the most straightforward way possible. I have not read enough of the man’s works to be familiar with his style or beliefs in general. So, I can’t speak on his body of work as a whole. However, I Robot truly delighted me. I loved his vision.
The way the collection is tied together from the point of view of a reporter speaking to the first robot psychologist was brilliant. Even if I didn’t quite buy the whole ‘robot psychologist’ thing. I, Robot does occasionally date itself – it would be almost impossible not to – but it’s not something readers will be overly conscious of. Because each of the stories within are relatively short, there is no real issue with pacing. The only time my interest / engagement wobbled was on the very last story. However, as soon as I figured out where Asimov was actually headed, I was fine with it.
My favorite story was one where humans must get a robot to believe that they created them. The robot, for quite understandable reasons, pretty much assumes they’re delusional. Stubborn logic and belief against human frustrations is always good for a nice fracas. However, a good runner-up was the one in which the two trouble-shooters / testers have to solve a problem that mysteriously disappears whenever humans get within sight of the robots. That one had me completely boggled as to what was going on.
Overall, I, Robot is a delightful read which -if you like Asimov’s style of writing – will definitely entertain you. It’s definitely a book that will instill in you a measure of respective for a game-changing writer in the field of science fiction. Regardless of the fear I have towards reading some of his other books (Foundation), I, Robot is one I will wholeheartedly recommend to any sci-fi reader out there. Very, very well done.
Have you read I, Robot. Do you want to talk about it with other people who have read the book? Then join us on November 16th, at 7 p.m. EST at www.thescaryreviews.com .
Dare to Discuss is a bi-monthly feature that hosted on a round robin basis amongst the participating panel. Anyone is free to join in the discussion.