I, Robot by Isaac Asimov—Goodreads Book Review

Originally posted on Goodreads.com.

The Olympians::the Titans; the monster::Dr. Frankenstein; Robots::modern man?

In I, Robot, Isaac Asimov explores artificial intelligence and robotics from different perspectives and in different situations. Set up as an interview by a reporter-narrator of Susan Calvin, lifelong robo-psychologist who was there for all major advancements in robotics between the late 20th century and the mid-21st, the book joins different chapter vignettes (previously published as short stories), each focused on one type of robot and subsequent issue or problem. Speculative in nature, the book provokes as many questions as it tries to answer (Are humans–often considered “rational animals”–really as rational as we think, especially when compared with supposedly fully rational robots? Are robots, though unknown to us, more or less dangerous than humans? Are the laws of robotics really as foolproof as the characters assume? What are the dangers of relying too heavily on robots; are those the robots’ fault? If a robot were to be made indistinguishable from a human, what would be the difference between the two? Would there BE a difference? etc).

Though the book does not follow a single robot (very little like the Will Smith movie, except in concept and some story sourcing), Asimov forms an engaging progression through the growth of characters that link the stories and the gradual building of the book’s world. Looking forward to reading more of his robot series.

Author: dustinllovell

Writing professor, literature and US history tutor, previous ESL instructor, and would-be novelist who enjoys/specializes in Shakespeare, 19th century lit, and philosophy (whether in print or via audiobook). Author of the novel Sacred Shadows and Latent Light (Wipf and Stock, Resources Imprint). Member of Heterodox Academy. Columnist for The Mallard.

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