I, ROBOT by Isaac Asimov: book review of science fiction classic highlights the prose, storytelling, and stark differences in views regarding this premiere work about robots and AI, aka artificial intelligence.
In Asimov’s I, Robot, Dr. Susan Calvin (robo-pyschologist for U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men Inc.) describes the development of robots, through nine short stories, to a reporter in the 21st century.
The Following book review of I, Robot by Isaac Asimov is a Spoiler-ful WARNING Level YELLOW: it contains mild spoilers for the novel, but not detailed plot.
When read from beginning to end I, Robot can be seen as an evolution of Asimov’s Robots. Each story shares an interaction between humans and robots and often hints upon the unease of a growing artificial intelligence.
Here is the story synopsis, and the review continues below it.
Released April 29, 2008 | ISBN 9780553382563
Each story in the book shares an interaction between humans and robots and often hints upon the unease of a growing artificial intelligence.
Asimov’s future (actually our past as his first short story is set in 2015) includes mining stations on asteroids and Mercury, spaceships with hyperdrive, and super computers along with robots taking over simple jobs like farming, while also running for office and even secretly running the world.
Although nine stories follow Asimov Three Laws of Robotics, many stories describe robots having difficulty with these laws (either by manufacturing defect or meta-cognitive awareness) leading to their eventual interpretation of them – even a so called religion. His infamous laws governing robotic behavior have changed our perception of robots forever.
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 given 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.
Despite the name Hollywood gave the film, I, Robot, starring Will Smith, the book is far from the film in terms of actual story elements, though the film is fun and captures some of the spirit, as well as a couple specific uses of the book.
Spoiler Alert: If you were a fan of the 2004 science fiction action film I, Robot directed by Alex Proyas do not expect many similarities with Isaac Asimov’s 1940-1950 short story collection of the same name. The 2004 film is much more closely based on Jeff Vintar’s original screenplay Hardwired. That film adopts Asimov’s creation of “the three laws of robotics,” shares two similar characters, and borrows one scene from his works.
Overall I, Robot is a thought provoking read, blended well with science-fact and science fiction.
If you have not read the novel, expect a vastly different story than the film with the exception of the chapter titled “Little Lost Rabbit.”
The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)
About The Author From Goodreads.com:
Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.
Professor Asimov is generally considered one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (lacking only an entry in the 100s category of Philosophy).
Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the “Big Three” science-fiction writers during his lifetime.
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“I, ROBOT By Isaac Asimov: Book Review Of Science Fiction Classic” was written by Peter Maisano.