i, robot

title: I, Robot

author: Isaac Asimov

genre: Fiction, robots, technology, malfunctions

date read: August 6th

review: 5 out of 5 stars

summary: Through a series of stories, Susan Calvin, the “robopsychologist “ at U.S. Robots, shares the history of robotic technology and revolution. From the humble beginnings, when they couldn’t speak, to The Brain who plays practical jokes (which the humans don’t find funny at all), the complexity of the technology is shown. There are Three Laws of Robotics, which are ingrained in each robot that comes off the line; The First Law: a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; The Second Law: a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; The Third Law: a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. Through the narrative, these laws are shown to interact with the reality of human desire in very interesting ways.

personal thoughts: I laughed, cringed, and was close to tears throughout the book. I especially liked the stories with Powell and Donovan who had such opposite personalities and yet were a great team. The creativity of the stories, the nature of humans and robots, was so interesting. With each story the strength of the robots grew as the humans tried to figure out what made them “tick.” I didn’t really see much that was represented in the movie of the same name, but this is the first of a series, so maybe the following books were the inspiration. Regardless, I loved this imaginative and engaging book.

favorite quotes:
I felt her glance slide through me and out my occiput and knew that I was uncommonly transparent to her; that everybody was.” Introduction p. X

“Mathematical squiggles on paper were not always the most comforting protection against robotic fact.” p. 46

“A chain of valid reasoning can end only with the determination of truth.” p. 46

“’skip the sarcasm. We’ll save it for Earth, and preserve it in jars for future long, cold winters.” p. 83

“there is nothing so eternally adhesive as the memory of power.” p. 220

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