The God Damn Robots, John!

Isaac Asimov was well aware of the natural human tendency to fear things that appear kind of human, but aren’t quite. He went out of his way to show that robots wouldn’t be dangerous, simply because the people who made them would ensure that they aren’t. His Three Laws of Robotics aren’t the result of brilliant robotic engineering. They are simply a narrative device to show how easy it is to make robots and AI safe with a little forethought.

When Hollywood decided to make a movie loosely based on Asimov’s collection of writings, I, Robot, they weren’t doing him any favors. The filmmakers knew it was easy to manipulate the emotions of their audience by making robots the villains. They pretended to pay homage to Asimov, but really they did the opposite by explicitly undermining his Three Laws and the good will that Asimov had worked for, solely in the service of cheap thrills.

[Ha! I’ve been brooding about this for seventeen years.]

It’s an entertaining film. It has good performances by everyone involved. The CG was impressive for the time. However, I doubt there were any fans of Isaac Asimov who weren’t disappointed by the story.