QUOTE: “I am unique.”
—Sonny, upon realizing special features his creator included in his own design that made him slightly more advanced than all other NS5 robots.
Adapted from the Cold War-era stories by Isaac Asimov, I, Robot feeds from our worst fears and asks: what would happen if robots controlled every aspect of our lives, from commerce and public safety to handy housework? Yes, they’d work more efficiently than humans, but they would also lack our values, logic and reasoning.
These fears are harbored by a troubled and bigoted cop, Del Spooner. Spooner hasn’t trusted robots since one plucked him out of dangerous waters but let a little girl drown. The robot had calculated that Spooner had a higher chance of survival. In Spooner’s view the honorable choice would’ve been to save the child. “A human being would’ve known that,” he says.
Spooner’s concerns prove to be well-founded as the NS5s, the newer and more cognitive models of helper bots, rebel against the trusted older NS4s, wreaking havoc on the humans they were created to protect and serve.
Sonny, an NS5 model who was programmed personally by the founding father of all robot technology, manages to develop higher mental abilities such as dreaming and reasoning. In the end, when the good guys, both man and machine, are holding their own against rabid attack bots, Sonny is capable of making a “logical” choice — proving that it’s Spooner who may have to reprogram his prejudices.