Skip to main content

Book review: I, Robot

I, Robot I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I've only seen a few minutes of the film adaptation of I, Robot, but for some reason I was expecting a large-scale epic. It probably didn't help my expectations that I've been told this is one of the great sci-fi classics. So, I was somewhat underwhelmed to find that this book is actually a collection of mildly interesting short stories.

The book was published in 1950, but the stories take place from 1996 to 2064. Playing a role in most of the stories is Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist who's often called upon to explain robot behavior in the light of the 3 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 any orders given to 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 Law.

As time progresses between each story, the robots become increasingly advanced; they begin as mute mechanical workers handling menial tasks, and eventually take the form of robotic Machines that control the sociological and economic forces of the 4 Regions of planet Earth. Along the way, humanity is confronted with issues of morality, ethics, and sentience that arise when humans and robots share space.

The stories are somewhat entertaining and intellectual. There's usually some mysterious robotic behavior that needs to be corrected, which requires humans to logically analyze how the Laws of Robotics are being obeyed to unexpected ends.

The book contains a lot of classic science fiction fare: sentient machines, mind-reading, planetary colonies, and interstellar travel. The stories are fairly interesting, but I don't think it's deserving of its high reputation in the sci-fi genre.

View all my reviews >>


Popular posts from this blog

The difference between burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas

I love Mexican food, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I always get confused between burritos, wet burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas. Here are the descriptions, with the differences in bold and pictures following each description.

A flour tortilla wrapped around a filling (meat, beans, vegetables, etc)

wet burrito
A burrito that's covered in red chili sauce and cheese. Because of the sauce covering, it looks like an enchilada, but it's made with a flour tortilla, whereas the enchilada is made with a corn tortilla.

A burrito that's deep-fried. Sometimes covered with cheese or another topping.

A corn tortilla wrapped around a filling, covered with chili pepper sauce

Wikipedia: BurritoWikipedia: ChimichangaWikipedia: Enchilada

Edit scanned documents with Word 2007

Office 2007 includes support for converting scanned documents to editable text using OCR (optical character recognition). To get your text from a paper document to Word 2007:
In the Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs.Find Microsoft Office, click it, and click Change.In the Office Installation Options window, expand Office Tools, click Microsoft Office Document Imaging, and select Run from My Computer from the dropdown.Click Continue or Next until you reach the end.You can now scan documents and convert the scanned images to editable text:
From the Start Menu, find Microsoft Office, then select Microsoft Office Tools, then click Microsoft Office Document Scanning.Choose your preset and options, then click Scan.The scanned image should open in Microsoft Office Document Imaging. To perform OCR and open the editable text in Word, click Tools, Send Text to Word.You can now edit and save the scanned document as a Word document.

My LASIK laser eye surgery experience

Yesterday was a turning point in my life; I had laser eye surgery (LASIK)! Here's a brief summary of my experience.

When I was 16, I barely passed the eye exam at the DMV, so they told me I had to see my eye doctor. Being a self-conscious geek, I opted for contacts over the stereotypical glasses. Although they were fine for most of the day, my contacts always dried out around 8 or 9 PM. My friends will tell you they got sick of my complaints that "my eyes feel like corks!" and "these contacts feel like sandpaper!"

Over the years, I've tried more than 10 different types of contacts, including extended wear, overnight wear, and high-moisture contacts. For a while, I even had contacts with bright blue artificial irises to cover my natural grayish ones. I got a lot of compliments, but they didn't help with the dryness.

I decided to put an end to the suffering this year. LASIK isn't cheap; reputable surgeons charge about $2000 per eye. It hurt to max out my…