The Good, The Bad, and The Scary – Day 25





I, Robot
Isaac Asimov


The three laws of robotics:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

I, Robot is a collection of short stories framed as stories Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist, is relating to a journalist. Each story shows some of the problems that arise between robots and their own sense of identify. “Runaround” shows what happens when a robot has two laws that conflict, “Reason” has a robot that doesn’t think that it was created by humans, and “Little Lost Robot” has a robot who deals with a modified first law. The stories ban together to look at robotic behavior and presents questions about how robots would react when presented with a choice.


Asimov’s short story collection creates a world where readers see exactly what’s so terrifying about robots, not knowing how they will react. The unpredictability of their choices, even though the three laws of robotics guide them, can pose a threat to humans or create logical problems. Looking at that fact coupled with humans growing reliance on robots and the enormous possibility for robots advancing beyond humanity inserts more tension into Asimov’s world. We’re left with an intelligent, strong, group that at some point may question whether or not humanity is obsolete, and that my friends is why the singularity should horrify you.


To you, a robot is a robot. Gears and metal; man-made! If necessary, human-destroyed! But you haven’t worked with them, so you don’t know them. They’re a cleaner better breed than we are.


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