I, Robot



Why did I read this book?

I read The Foundation by Asimov last year and deeply enjoyed it. Asimov’s writing brings my imagination alive. I also find that science fiction leads to ideas and reflections on how our world will develop.

Summary

“I, Robot” is a science-fiction novel about the progress of robots in human society. First published in 1950, the first chapters about robots and humans start in the late twentieth century; gradually the book goes further into time until mid-twenty-first century.

“I, Robot” is famous because in it Asimov describes the “Three Laws of Robotics”

  1. Robots must not injure a human being
  2. Robots must obey human orders, unless they’re in conflict with the first law
  3. Robots must protect their own existence… but only if doing so does not violate rules one and two.

Every chapter shines a different light on a not-so-distant (future) relationship between man and machine. Asimov reveals interesting dynamics, such as children who love robots more than their friends; robots that don’t allow humans to manage processes because humans would mess things up; and a future in which robots, not humans, control political and business decisions. 

Anecdotes or passages worth sharing:

“But you are telling me, Susan, that the “Society for Humanity” is right; and that Mankind has lost its own say in its future.”

“It never had any, really. It was always at the mercy of economic and sociological forces it did not understand–at the whims of climate, and the fortunes of war. Now the Machines understand them; and no one can stop them, since the Machines will deal with them as they are dealing with the Society—having, as they do, the greatest of weapons at the disposal, the absolute control of our economy.”

“How horrible!”

“Perhaps how wonderful! Thing, that for all time, all conflicts are finally evitable.”