25 de out. de 2022

I, Robot – Isaac Asimov | Review

I, Robot is one of the great classics of science fiction and brings together futuristic tales involving humans and, mainly, robots. Originally released in 1950 and written by the famous author Isaac Asimov, the book arrived in Brazil by Editora Aleph in 2014. It is also the first book in the Robots Series, by Asimov, which later integrated the series into the famous Fundação series. The book even had its title used in the movie I, Robot, with Will Smith.

What many do not realize, however, is that the film bears almost no resemblance to the book, being limited to the 3 Laws of Robotics and an uncharacteristic character. Even so, the film continues to draw on Asimov's source: even though it was initially based on works by Agatha Christie, from the beginning it was considered an Asimovian work. After all, the atmosphere of mysteries, detectives and robots is a very characteristic mark of the author.

The tales take place in 2035, which for us is already around the corner, and discuss the trajectory and evolution of robots through time. Composed of 10 short stories very well tied together, the book deals much more with the human perspective.

Through a journalistic interview, the narrative of the tales is built on the memories of Susan Calvin, an extremely successful robopsychologist and, without a doubt, the best in her field. So, Dr. Calvin takes us back to the beginning of the use of robots in the human world, when none of them spoke and were widely used in factories and even as babysitters.

Interestingly, a crucial point in the story is that, in the beginning, robots suffered great prejudice in society. They were regarded as diabolical machines and treated extremely rudely and disrespectfully. Humans even prohibit the use of robots on the planet and all this just shows people's gigantic fear of Artificial Intelligences; whether from a robotic uprising or a mass replacement is unclear.

Asimov, however, introduces us to the Three Laws of Robotics, under which each and every robot is developed. Its goal was to make it possible for humans and intelligent robots to coexist peacefully, seeking both to reassure humans and to keep machines under a certain absolute control. These laws are implanted in the positronic brains of robots and regulate any and all behavior. Are they:

1st Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2nd Law: A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders conflict with the First Law.

3rd Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Subsequent to the book, Asimov added a fourth law, entitled Law Zero, having as its definition the protection of humanity at any cost. The author himself, by the way, even stated that the multiple interpretations of these laws brought him a great creative breadth to develop stories. And that's exactly what we can find in I, Robot: a wide range of interpretations of these laws. It is also important to mention that with the technological progression that we are witnessing, Asimov's laws are very close to becoming a de facto legislation.

Certainly, robotics and psychology are the most amazing parts of the book. But it's also possible to marvel and enjoy the fact that, in this universe, humans have gone very, very far in space exploration. From mines to large power stations, humanity has clearly gone far beyond the confines of the atmosphere. And, even more, in the book we can follow the exploration of quantum leaps in space!

Above all, I, Robot is a fun book, with an easy-to-read pace that can get very frantic, as it did for me. Once I started, it was hard to let go. Are there times when you get a little tired? Of course, as is likely to happen in any book. But these are rare moments that can even contribute to a more fluid reading. It's not difficult to read, it's not a dense book, but it's an excellent read and a very good time.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Spectra Books (1 June 2004)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0553803700
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0553803709
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 14.73 x 2.16 x 21.74 cm

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