Sean Meriwether's Reviews > I, Robot

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
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bookshelves: sci-fi, book-becomes-movie, short-stories

Isaac Asimov is one of the grandfathers of technology-driven sci-fi who added “robotics” to our vocabulary. I, Robot is a collection of short stories published in 1950. Many of the robots in film, TV and other media can trace their roots to this collection including Star Trek’s Data’s positronic brain, to the unstable HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the self-aware Skynet from the Terminator franchise. Asimov’s stories are littered with unstable machines who have existential crises, act subversively or react hysterically, or feel superior to their fallible creators. The only problem is, in reality, machines may fail due to systemic errors and have replaced jobs previously performed by humans, but they do not have the capacity to react emotionally nor have can plot a takeover from humanity. The undercurrent of paranoia has fed many techno-phobic story lines. It is easy to read the machines as human slaves; even Dr. Susan Calvin, the robopsychologist who ties the stories loosely together, dismissively refers to a robot as “boy”. On the whole the stories aren’t as strong as one would expect and Asimov, who himself felt intellectually superior to most humans, got so much so wrong. For me “Evidence” was a standout in which the question of humanity verses robotics is raised without a conclusive answer.

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Reading Progress

October 11, 2010 – Shelved
January 13, 2011 – Shelved as: sci-fi
May 7, 2011 – Shelved as: book-becomes-movie
November 21, 2019 – Started Reading
November 21, 2019 – Shelved as: short-stories
December 4, 2019 – Finished Reading

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