I, Robot

by

Author: Issac Asimov

Title: I, Robot

Genre: Science fiction

Publication Date: 1950

Number of Pages: 192

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: The future

Plot Summary: The Three Laws of Robotics: (1) a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;  (2) a robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and (3) a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. As humans develop robots, their creations must follow these three laws. But while robots make humans’ lives easier, other problems arise. A reporter writing the history of these creations in the year 2057 interviews Dr. Susan Calvin a robopsychologist at U.S. Robot and Mechanical Men. Through her reminisces we learn about the evolution of robots and the dilemmas that humans and robots must deal with under the Three Laws.

Subject Headings: Science fiction — American; Robots; Human/computer interaction

Appeal: compelling; measured; intriguing; reflective; multiple points of view; episodic; open-ended; evocative; polished; darker; psychological; haunting

3 terms that best describe this book: futuristic; contemplative; engrossing

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction

Margaret Atwood’s satire, The Handmaid’s Tale, takes place in the future in Gilead, what was once the United States. A handmaid named Offred struggles under a monotheocratic government that refuses her her femininity and her identity.

Robot Dreams, a textless graphic novel from Sara Varon, tells the tale of a lonely dog who orders and assembles himself a robot companion. But things don’t go quite as the dog or the robot were hoping.

Ted Hughes tells a compelling and poignant story of a boy and a huge alien robot in Iron Giant. After crashing to earth, the robot befriends a boy, and soon they are very close. But the townspeople and the Army are unsure if they want a giant robot roaming free.

Nonfiction

In Love + Sex with Robots: the Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, artificial intelligence (AI) expert David Levy examines what man’s relationship with robots will be in the future. Using anthropology, psychology and current research in robotics and AI, Levy paints a vivid picture of what robots will become and how humans will interact with them.

Beyond Human: Living with Robots and Cyborgs by Gregory Benford and Elisabeth Malartre explores the history and future of robotics. More important is their examination of human’s uneasy relationship with sophisticated machines and their own will power.

Kim Vicente looks at the widening gap between humans and their technology in The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People Live with Technology. With technology moving faster than we humans can manage it, Vicente argues for a technology that works for humans instead of surpassing them.

Name: Jason J. Lamb

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