I, robot & Issac Asimov


This article is not written by me. I am just interented in Issac Asimov after I watched the movie, and introduced by Austin Fung. He aroused my courious when I watched this movie in Napier's theater.

Austin told me and Judy about this author and his great books, and I founf Austin also were reading Asimov's book - "Foundation's Edge".Today I re-watched this movie "I, Robot", and I found this article. I think it's very worth-reading.

So i repost this article to my blog. If you have watched this movie, you maybe take few minutes to reading this, you will want to know more about Issac Asimov like me.
There is another website that introduce Issac Asimov.
Origin Article fr. Isaac Asimov Home Page, Read More Please link to

I, Robot, starring Will Smith
On July 16, 2004, the Twentieth Century Fox film I, Robot was released in theatres in North America. The official website for the movie can be found at http://www.irobotmovie.com/.
The film is billed as "suggested by Isaac Asimov's book", meaning that it incorporates some elements of the robot stories that appeared in Asimov's 1950 short story collection. The film started as a screenplay titled "Hardwired" by screenwriter Jeff Vintar. Then, with the permission of Asimov's estate, the title was changed and the story modified to use some characters and plot elements from Asimov's stories. The final product clearly contains some of Asimov's ideas, but a story that belongs to Vintar and fellow screenwriter Akiva Goldsman.

If the movie is your first exposure to Asimov's work, and you would like to learn more about Isaac Asimov, this site might help you to do so.

What does the new movie have in common with Asimov's writings?

The title: I, Robot
I, Robot is the title of Asimov's first collection of short stories. It consists of nine stories about positronic robots, united by a consistent narrative in which a reporter interviews the character Susan Calvin about her life working with robots. Oddly enough, Asimov did not come up with the title, but rather his publisher "appropriated" the title from a short story by Eando Binder that was published in 1939. New editions of I, Robot, featuring a still from the movie on the cover, have recently been published, and are on sale at amazon.com and other locations.

The Three Laws of Robotics
The movie faithfully quotes Asimov's 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 Law.

Asimov developed the Three Laws (with the help of his editor John W. Campbell) because he was tired of the science fiction stories of the 1920s and 1930s in which the robots, like Frankenstein's creation, turned on their creators and became dangerous monsters. The positronic brains of Asimov's robots were designed around the Three Laws, so that it was impossible for the robots to function without them. There were enough ambiguities in the Three Laws to make for interesting stories, but there was only one story in the collection, "Little Lost Robot", in which a robot posed any sort of danger to a human being. In the movie, the robots run amok and become dangerous monsters despite (or is it because of?) the Three Laws. There are no loopholes in Asimov's stories that would allow the behavior exhibited by the robots in the movie.

The Three Laws and the behavior of robots that resulted from their use became an implicit aspect of numerous science fiction stories that followed Asimov's popular positronic robot series. Researchers who later designed and built robots have said that utilizing principles akin to the Three Laws is simply common sense. But today not everyone believes that the Three Laws are sufficient or desirable for robots of the future. The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has a website which explores the Three Laws from an academic perspective and gives reasons why they may not be the last word in robotic design.

U.S. Robotics
The movie centers on robots built by United States Robotics, the corporation whose full name is U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. in Asimov's stories. In the movie, the corporation is run by Lawrence Robertson. In the short story collection, Lawrence Robertson receives only a brief mention in the introduction as being the first president of the corporation; several generations of his offspring run the company as the story timeline progresses.

The character Susan Calvin
Susan Calvin, the robopsychologist for U.S. Robots, was a central character of the story collection. Calvin was brilliant, logical, and strong-willed, but was not considered attractive or even very feminine. In the movie, Calvin is portrayed by the young and beautiful actress Bridget Moynahan.

The character Alfred Lanning
In Asimov's stories, Lanning is the Director of Research at U.S. Robots, and a prominent character. In the movie, Lanning is the creator of the NS-5 robot, and dies near the beginning of the story.

The Nestor series of robots
The movie features the NS-5 robot, successor to the NS-4 in the Nestor series. Asimov's story "Little Lost Robot" concerned a robot in the Nestor series, the NS-2, which has a modified First Law which allows it to allow a human being to come to harm through inaction.

A police detective who is uncomfortable with robots
In the movie, Will Smith plays detective Del Spooner, who has a deep-seated distrust of robots. There are no such detectives in Asimov's short stories, but Asimov also wrote a series of novels featuring positronic robots, and there is a detective in them named Elijah Baley who is not very fond of robots. Baley is not alone in his feelings about robots; robots on Earth are blamed for stealing jobs and causing unemployment. In the novel The Caves of Steel, a roboticist is murdered, but rather than hunting down a robot, Baley is paired with one as a partner in his murder investigation. Baley's partner, the robot Daneel Olivaw, manages to change his perspective on robots, and reappears as a central figure in several later novels.

There was an earlier attempt at a movie version of I, Robot, but it never made it to the screen. In 1969 the rights were optioned to Hollywood, but no progress was made toward making a movie until 1977, when Harlan Ellison, an award-winning author and friend of Asimov, was hired to write a screenplay. Ellison worked on it for a year, and created a screenplay that Asimov thought would make a truly marvelous film. But Hollywood did not have the nerve to make a movie from that screenplay, and the project was shelved. Ellison regained control of his work, and it was published in 1987 as I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay.

If I, Robot has raised your interest in Isaac Asimov's robots, you may want to take a look at some of his robot short story collections and novels.

Issac Asimov's Short Story Collections:
I, Robot
The Rest of the Robots
The Complete Robot (a single collection of most of Asimov's pre-1982 robot stories)
Robot Dreams
Robot Visions
The Caves of Steel
The Naked Sun
The Robots of Dawn
Robots and Empire



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