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Parasha: I Robot: November 25th reading

This is the last section for I, Robot, and yet I'm left not really knowing what all to say about it.

I don't know why, really... it wasn't a bad story, but maybe it was because it wasn't very... I don't know. Tense? Immediate? It goes back into three-laws territory, but while we're set up with a conflict, it ends up being a non-starter, and since we only have the main possible danger set out before us just before getting the explanation, it's... I don't know.

I was also a bit disappointed that there wasn't any further mention of leaderdude = robot, but hey.

And Asimov definitely seems to be moving toward that zeroth law y'all were mentioning in comments earlier, but in context of this story collection it still feels like moving the goalposts a bit. Although as desdenova mentioned, it could just be a matter of the robots themselves becoming more complex and changing in their interpretations of the First Law.

The society with the Machines in charge is all very nice and idealic and Utopian and all but... a bit... cold. *shudder* Maybe it's partly because I'm a shiny happy capitalistic pig at heart, I don't know. I also note that while much mention is made of things like food, natural resources, and all, I wonder how leisure items/recreation is brought into the equation? Especially since, while there are some people who would go on creating art or music or whatever no matter what, there are probably a lot more who wouldn't, if they wouldn't have a need to do so to survive. Or they might not be able to if the Machines decided their talents were best used in other, more practical fields.

The populations are still laughable btw, unless of course one considers that the vast majority of people that would otherwise be living on Earth have moved off into space. I also found the regional divisions very... odd.

Still, the story was interesting enough as a mental exercise, and hey, no Donnovan and Powell.


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Nov. 25th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
Good points about the shift in his vision of the future. That was one of the things I liked about this story.
Nov. 25th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I got the feeling that this was more of a "hey, let's play with how the world might turn out and present a possible future" story, which is good as far as expanding the horizons goes, but not necessarily so great in that while the world building is cool, the story itself (as you mention below) doesn't have as much of the conflict needed for an actual story.
Nov. 25th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
First, I completely love the title of this story. That was probably my favorite part of it.

However, it didn't feel like there was much of a story here, it was more of a setting where the machines were running the world. There was no conflict (as the title suggests - not necessarily as good of a thing when it comes to the story itself). It certainly does seem that Asimov thought having machines running the world was ideal.

Re: population, somewhere along the line I noticed that Asimov's future history includes a third world war, so his numbers might not be as ridiculous if he was picturing a nuclear war.
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