I, Robot was written by Isaac Asimov and published in 1950 by Gnome Press. The stories are written between 1940 and 1950 for American science fiction magazines.
Most of the stories feature chief robopsychologist Dr. Calvin. Three Laws of Robotics is also first used in this book. The stories in the book;
- Catch that Rabbit
- Little Lost Robot
- The Evitable Conflict
2004 film’s plot incorporates elements from “Little Lost Robot”, Three Laws of Robotics, and some characters.
Years ago, I’ve read the Foundation series in which I’ve learned many things about Asimov’s robots and universe. Asimov has already been one of my favorite authors before reading this short stories, after reading I, Robot I see that my feelings and tastes have not changed in years, still I like Asimov’s style. Hope to read all the books set in this universe in the future.
The stories are loosely related, some of them are more related but some of them are just take place in the same universe with the same concepts.
The first story is Robbie, in this story robot technology is a new thing and there is still many things to do. But they have settled the rules and working on the robots. The story is about relationship between a girl named Gloria and her robot Robbie. Gloria has deeply attached to Robbie, and her mother did not want Robbie.
Powell, Donovan and Robot SPD-13 has been sent to Mercury for mining operations. They need to go outside to take selenium to fill the photo-cell banks. But Robot SPD-13, Speedy, starts acting different due to the second and the third rules. But it cannot override the first rule, when Powell risks his life, Speedy acts according to the first rule and follows Powell. This story is showing the dilemma of robots and how they are handling the rules.
This one is one of my favorite stories in this book. Again we are seeing our characters Powell and Donovan. They build a robot, QT1 aka Cutie, which has ability for reasoning. As always thing went wrong and the robot starts reasoning and do not accept simple answers.
Cutie believes that, it is a higher entity than the humans and prophet of other robots. And also think that power source of the ship is the Master. Other robots bow down to the Master, and say “There is no Master but Master, and QT1 is His prophet.”
Catch That Rabbit
Powell and Donovan were sent to an asteroid mining station with DV-5 (Dave) for testing. But unexpectedly Dave which is responsible for six subsidiary robots under its control, stops working. Both Powell and Donovan could not explain the reason. They have found the solution which is Dave could not handle 6 robots when there is a critical event like some human’s life is in danger. When they destroy one of the robots everything turns to normal and Dave operates as expected.
This one is also an interesting story, it tells how naïve the robots and try to act according to rules. But when this robot, RB-34 aka Herbie, tries to make people happy it was actually making them unhappy. During manufacturing a robot possessed telepathic abilities by fault. But it still acts according to the First Rule. When it sees anyone can be hurt due to its answers, it tells them what will make them happy. However it is actually making them unhappy. At the end of the story Susan Calvin put it into a paradox and it shut down itself.
Little Lost Robot
In a military research stating on an asteroid, a researcher lost his temper and tells a NS-2, Nestor, robot to get lost. Nestor obeys the rule and makes itself lost. And the interesting part, this robot is using a modified version of the three robotic rules. The first rule has been omitted and it can hurt someone. So they call Susan Calvin, and she did a few tests to find the lost robot. It would not be easy but Nestor will be find.
This story seems to be a start point to the foundation universe, because it tells the starting of the colonization of the universe by trying to develop the hyperspatial drive. After a few failed attempts they create a computer which has a positronic brain and directs the Brain to build the hyperspace ship.
This story and the next story is about a man named Stephen Byerley. He is the victim of a car accident. His wife has died and he was severely wounded. Francis Quinn has stated that no one has ever seen Byerley eat or sleep.
The Evitable Conflict
In this story, we see that Byerley is elected as the World Coordinator and the world’s economy and production are optimized by the Machines which are powerful positronic computers. Again Susan Calvin finds a new thing. The Machines have created the Zeroth law, to protect the humanity.