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Thursday, April 2, 2009
I've always loved Asimov books. Since we're past the dates that many are set in it's interesting to see how much the push into space was overrated as the direction technology would take. In the book there are space stations and mining colonies on far away asteroids, people have developed hyperspace engines with the help of robots but they still wait for the paperboy to get the news.
The book is broken into chapters of the history of robots told by a robot psychologist. Each chapter is a short story in the world all it's own with the common theme being how robots interact with their pre-programmed laws. The first law of robotics is that a robot cannot harm a human being or through inaction allow a human being to be harmed. The theme of the book is exploration of how a physically superior being, who also is intellectually superior, robots are supercomputers after all, would interact with humans if they had to follow this law.
Robots become ever more sophisticated through the book, it's told over a 60 year period of technology. Eventually everything in the world is run by robots as they become superior but benevolent creations. At it's root it's a story of how we interact with technology and how as technology becomes more advanced it interacts with us.
Looking over the past 60 years and all the marvels and miracles and looking forward at the next 60 years this book is still relevant and thought provoking.