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Creativity in logic [Resenha]

In today’s text, we look at the book I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. In addition to the movie of the same name, starring Will Smith, which is partly inspired by some of the short stories in the book. I, Robot is a collection of stories Science fiction A short story written by Asimov and published in 1950. The short stories revolve around the “Three Laws of Robotics” developed by Asimov, which have become a basic element in many works of science fiction.

I, Robot stories explore how these laws apply in complex situations and how robots can interact with humans in different contexts. The book is considered a science fiction classic and influenced many other writers in the genre.

As Asimov himself points out in the book’s afterword, he was responsible for the use of the word robotics in world literature. This was due to the creation of the Three Laws (derived from the word) of robotics, which are fundamental dogmas implanted in the brains of robots at their creation. An important addition is that Asimov’s conception of the robot is not limited to the machines we have in our daily lives today, such as computers and cell phones; Asimov’s robots are now called artificial intelligence, so they operate more like a human mind than a laptop processor, as most of them have a more humanoid appearance or elements.

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Review of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot

What are the three laws of robotics?

The “Three Laws of Robotics” are a set of fictional guidelines created by the author to govern the behavior of robots in his stories. The laws feature in many of Asimov’s stories and are designed to prevent robots from becoming a threat to humanity.

These guidelines are often explored in his books to demonstrate the ethical and practical implications of creating machines with an ever-increasing ability to make autonomous decisions. The laws are in the following order:

  1. The robot must not harm a person or allow a person to be harmed by its inaction.
  2. A robot must follow orders given to it by humans, unless 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.

Logic and narrative

In this review of I, Robot, it is important to note that although the book is a collection, it begins as an interview by a journalist with Dr. Susan Calvin, a recurring fictional character in several of Asimov’s stories. He is a robot psychologist at the largest robot company in the United States – US Robots, and thanks to his career, he has accumulated the most diverse stories about positronic life during his career. This interview is used as a thread connecting the stories, even if the first one is the author’s “requirement” to be the first (due to personal attachment), this connection seeks an internal logic to familiarize the reader with the world in which it is presented.

After some assumptions, mainly laws, are established, Asimov uses the resulting logic to create stories that are as clever as they are creative. His writing is simple, devoid of flourishes, and it is about the rationality of the characters that he reflects on the human behavior he saw in his time. As an example, in the short story “Razão” he shows how a religion considered illogical by many can present congruence in its existence while at the same time subverting logic with logic itself.

Plots that mix clue police investigation in the style of Auguste Dupin would make Poe proud to use as a main weapon against any mystery, rational thought. And precisely in this idea lies the main strength of Asimov’s writings, which is so natural that it may sometimes make the reader wonder why he did not think of it earlier.

People who make robots

As the stories originate from Dr. Calvin, some characters repeat. US Robots big men like Dr. Alfred Lanning and Peter Bogert, although understudied, prove that they really deserve a spot, as well as Susan herself, due to the talent they show in their areas.

The riskiest stories come from “engineers” Gregory Powell and Michael Donovan, who also prove themselves worthy of their position in the company for their achievements, but also for their problems, ending up as unofficial “experts on robot problems”. They even have a more comical quality to convey the feeling of employees being stressed about work, which is at odds with the authority of the corporate bigwigs.

In this counterpoint, Susan is the highest-level character in the company, the one with the most depth. His harsher personality may have placed him in a prominent position among these men (an idea compatible with the paradigms of the time), and perhaps because he lived with these depraved beings, his preference for logical beings fueled his excellence in work.. Although his more personal perspectives are still reflections of what would be expected of an emotional woman of the 50s, her build emphasizes her as a strong and intelligent woman.

I, Robot Review conclusion

We conclude the review of I, Robot by saying that we show Asimov’s undeniable influence on works about robotics and his creativity using logical thinking to create thought-provoking stories. It is worth noting that these works date from the 50s and 60s, which opens up speculation: what would he have done by combining his positronic logic with the heyday of the Internet? Without a doubt, it would be something that exceeds all expectations, which, unfortunately, there is no access to.

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