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The Breakdown: I, Robot Book Vs Movie

1529 words - 7 pages

In the story I, Robot that takes place in the future, the production of robots are made in order to better society. These robots are implanted with three laws that govern all of their actions, but on the other hand the vagueness of the laws themselves leaves room for error; that wasn't anticipated by the creator or the citizens of the community that depended on them on a day to day basis. In the story, I, Robot written by Isaac Asimov in 1950, there are contextual differences that practically disconnect its relation from its movie that made its debut in 2004, such as themes, plot, and characters in the story. The most obvious difference between the book and the movie are the times that they ...view middle of the document...

In the movie, the character Canner is the main robot that assists Det. Spooner in their escapades. Canner is unique from all the other robots because of his close connection with his creator Alfred Lanning. This connection that ended early in the movie causes Canner to exemplifies another theme: do the robots have the potential to be human or at least have some qualities of humanity, either by learning or being programmed. Evidence of this would be the robot "Canner" insisting that it'd be referred to by the name Sonny, and the bond that he develops with Det. Spooner throughout the movie. In the book, Asimov also invites this theme with a similar character named Robbie who also has human characteristics of affection towards a character named Gloria. These two characters seem to be more loyal and human than the humans in both versions of the story. John Jenkins states "the Three Laws are laws of ethics, laws that human beings might be well to emulate, and laws which robots cannot break by their very nature while human beings can. (¶1)"
The main plot in each of the two versions share similarities but are very different because the era in which the books were made computers were not yet understood completely. Kelly Ross states "along with not understanding how computers were going to work, another problem with Asimov's stories is a total absence of an understanding of economics. (¶8)" In the movie the robots control society directly by taking over through force by declaring such things as Martial Law and in the book the robots controlled the humans indirectly by managing the economy. The three laws that were encrypted in the robots are also a main part of both versions because they both play a part in the downfall of human society. One can see that in the movie the robots break the first rule by harming humans, and in the book they do it a nonphysical manner that leads readers to believe that Asimov intended for the rule to protect humans only from physical harm. Kelly Ross states "The image of robots in rebellion, attacking humans, is something unthinkable and unknown in Isaac Asimov's robot books." It is nonetheless the vagueness of the laws that causes the robots to interpret them in their own way for their benefit. Nina Munteanu agrees when she states "the Three Laws of Robotics, the infinite ways that they can be interpreted, and how they may be equally applied to robot or human. The laws may apply physically or emotionally; individually or toward the whole of humanity; long-term or short-term . . . the list is potentially endless. "Asimov's original design of the story was placed farther into the future, which allowed the story to take place in space and on earth, while the movie took place only on earth. Asimov portrays in his series of short stories multiple ways where the robots seem to be breaking the three laws. In one of the stories in Asimov's series, a robot can read minds and lies to humans to in an attempt try and keep in line with...

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