I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
“Oh, are robots so different from men, mentally?”
“Worlds different.” She allowed herself a frosty smile, “Robots are essentially decent.”
If I’m going to call myself a fan of science fiction, it was about time I got around to reading I, Robot. I was surprised and a little disappointed to find out that this classic of classics is just a collection of short stories. Still, this is the most cohesive group of short stories I’ve ever read, and they’re not the protracted writing exercise slash character exploration short stories of today – they’re gripping, momentous, beginning-middle-end, get in and get out and leave a good-looking concept kind of stories.
They mustn’t harm a human being, they must obey human orders, and they must protect their own existence … but only so long as that doesn’t violate rules one and two. With these Three Laws of Robotics, humanity embarked on a bold new era of evolution that would open up enormous possibilities – and unforeseen risks. For the scientists who invented the earliest robots weren’t content that their creations should remain programmed helpers, companions, and sentient worker-machines. And soon the robots themselves, aware of their own intelligence, power, and humanity, aren’t either.
As humans and robots struggle to survive together – and sometimes against each other – on earth and in space, the future of both hangs in the balance. Here human men and women confront robots gone mad, telepathic robots, robot politicians, and vast robotic intelligences that may already secretly control the world. And both are asking the same questions: What is human? And is humanity obsolete?