I, Robot Isaac Asimov
The following entry presents criticism on Asimov's short story collection I, Robot (1950). See also, Isaac Asimov Criticism and CLC, Volumes 3, 9,19, and 26. INTRODUCTION
The author of nearly five hundred books in a wide variety of fields and genres, Asimov is renowned for his ground-breaking science fiction and for his ability to popularize or, as he called it, "translate" science for the lay reader. In I, Robot (1950)—a collection of nine short stories linked by key characters and themes—Asimov describes a future society in which human beings and nearly sentient robots coexist. Critics consider it a pivotal work in the development of realistic science fiction literature mainly for its elaboration of Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" as a viable ethical and moral code. I, Robot is also significant for its espousal of the benefits of technology—a rather rare position in the history of science fiction and fantastic literature, which traditionally viewed technology and science as threats to human existence. Plot and Major Characters
In the nine stories in I, Robot, Dr. Susan Calvin, a robot psychologist, explores the benefits of robots to society and illustrates some of the developmental problems encountered in creating them. The book opens with the presentation of "The Three Laws of Robotics," the ethical ground-rules for the interaction of human beings and robots. They are: "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 the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3—A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law." In the first story, "Robbie," the robot is a relatively simple, nonvocal machine designed to be a nursemaid. Gloria Weston, a small child, loves Robbie and enjoys his company, but her mother does not trust the device, even though Mr. Weston...
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