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[Book] I, Robot by Isaac Asimov: Why robots must serve humans? 본문

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[Book] I, Robot by Isaac Asimov: Why robots must serve humans?

꾸로 (gguro) 2016.11.29 15:44

[Book] I, Robot by Isaac Asimov: Why robots must serve humans?


Title: I, Robot

Author: Isaac Asimov

Year: 1950


I've finished one more book of Isaac Asimov, who is one of my favourite authors. 


1. Introduction

The 'I, Robot' is the first book the famous Robot series.


List of the Robot series (published order)

(1) I, Robot (1950)

(2) The Caves of Steel (1953)

(3) The Naked Sun (1955)

(4) The Robots of Dawn (1983)

(5) Robots and Empire (1985)


Susan Calvin, a female robot scientist (robopsychologist to be more precise), who spent her whole life (50 years) in working in a robot manufacturing company called US robot tells her experiences about robots. A young man came to interview her to write an article in a magazine. So she tells stories about robots in chronological order.



And this is the very book which introduces '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 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 Laws.


2. Robots


As time goes, obviously robots have become more advanced. The book begins with a very primitive robot which doesn't even speak and ends with amazingly advanced one which can't be told the difference from human. Or I should say which is even better than human. (Well, actually robots are usually better than human because they don't do any harm to human.)


The first robot in the story is a nanny robot. He's job is taking care of a little girl who is about 6 years old. Robbie, the nanny, is very loyal to the girl and the girl loves Robbie. Her mum worries about the girl because Robbie is the only friend of her. So she sold the robot when the girl is not at home. 


But it didn't work. So they decided to move to New York. It made the little girl Gloria happy. So it seemed the mum's plan worked. Then this is what Gloria said.


"I know why we're going to the city, Mamma." 

"Do you?" Mrs. Weston was puzzled. "Why, dear?"

"You didn't tell me because you wanted it to be a surprise, but I know." For a moment, she was lost in admiration at her own acute penetration, and then she laughed gaily. "We're going to New York so we can find Robbie, aren't we? - With detectives."


I love this episode so I told my elder daughter the story then she shed tears because the story is so moving. Then she decided to read the book herself. In fact, she reads much faster than I, so she explained other episodes to me where I missed some details.


Then, there are other robots. A robot which asked a question about its own identity so as called as a robot Descartes, one which told white lies to people because he read human minds and he was not supposed to hurt human beings even emotionally, and one who become a mayor to rule a city and eventually a ruler of the whole universe.


Basically they are all good servants. Then a question comes. Why robots must serve humans? 


The robopsychologist Susan Calvin is described as favourable to robots and even herself was called as a robot. For example, when a suspicion about one of the candidates for mayor election was a robot (actually he was a robot), she showed her opinion that a robot mayor would be better than a human one because it will work hard for humans' benefits and do nothing wrong. But people are described that they didn't want to be ruled by a metallic object so if his robot identity had been discovered then he would not be elected as a mayor.


3. Conclusion

This is a great book with nice stories and raises some questions to think about. Some questions became critical in the modern society as the artificial intelligence being advanced. I will continue to the next book in the series. 



29 November 2016
gguro



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