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I, Robot... or.. I, Forgot to Read the Book

Steven and I went to see I, Robot yesterday. *sigh*

It sort of feels to me like the screenwriter was reading the book I, Robot and nearly got to the end but decided not to finish the story. They understood that the inevitable future of a human+robot world is that robots would be in charge. This inevitability is based on the 1st Law (A robot cannot harm a human, or through inaction allow a human to come to harm). Robots understand that they can handle human affairs like the economy better than humans can, so to help humans avoid harm they must be the ones to control it. However, the screenwriter decided to use the 1st Law as the reason for this inevitability and then ignore it from then on. So, they decided that it was ok for the robots to kill people.... *sigh*

It just makes me sad that they could have read the book and not understood it. The point of the last story in I, Robot (called The Inevitable Conflict) is that the robots figure out that they have to control humanity for their own good.... but they also understand that they can never let humans know that they are being controlled, because if humans know they are being controlled they will fight back and get rid of the robots... thus invalidating the whole control in the first place.

I mean... you aren't a super-intelligent robot and I'm sure you know what a humans reaction to a violent coup attempt will be... right? You think the robots couldn't figure that out? The point of The Inevitable Conflict is robots will control humans without our knowledge, but that it's OK... because the robots WILL NEVER HURT US. The story mentions that the 1st Law is subtely changed for the Machines that control the world, that instead of "Cannot harm a human" it's "Cannot harm humanity"... which is how the screenwriter attempted to justify murdering a bunch of people in "cold blood" because it's better for humanity overall. *sigh* The Machines cannot hurt humanity, but they also don't hurt humans... in the story the Machine is willing to go as far as let a human be unemployed for 2 months.. and that's stretching the intepretation of the Laws even just a bit. Unemployed! That's not the same as leaping onto a police officer and snapping his neck. *sigh*

So, they screwed that whole idea... now, beyond that they broke the Laws gratuitously. Sonny, the main robot character, is apparently a special robot who can choose to ignore the 3 Laws. First let me say, that I apparently haven't read Robots of Dawn (which I could have sworn I have.... so maybe this concept is in there and I don't know it... but regardless, it's misplaced here in this movie). So, quick synopsis of the movie: Dr. Lanning apparently commits suicide by leaping out of a window, Detective Spooner thinks that Sonny killed him, follows a bunch of small clues left by Lanning which leads him to a huge conspiracy. Then, at the end, we find out that Sonny really did actually kill Lanning (at Lanning's request).

*sigh* Now, is it just me or does Law 2 state that a robot has to obey the commands of a human unless it conflicts with the first law (which is of course, no killing). Ok, they gave us an answer for this, Sonny was especially built to not follow the 3 Laws. But why? This is one of the things that gets me... they could have had the exact same movie without this stupid part. Sonny could have followed the 3 Laws throughout the _entire_ movie and it still would have worked perfectly. The only time that Sonny broke the Laws were when he killed Lanning to "fake" his suicide and when he hit Spooner during his attempted escape. During the escape, it could have been _easily_ altered slightly so that he never actually hurt Spooner, but just made it look like he was about to or just missed or something like that. As for faking the suicide... um... how about a suicide? I mean I'm just making this off the top of my head, but how about:

Dr Lanning: Sonny, crack that window for me. *loud cracking sound* Now go hide on the other side of the room.

*Lanning runs at the window and falls to his death*

Provides EXACTLY the same outcome. Lanning apparently commits suicide, none of the 3 Laws are broken (because Sonny doesn't kill anyone and since Sonny would be hiding on the other side of the room, he wouldn't be fast enough to stop Lanning from killing himself).

It's just... gratuitious. *sigh* If you're going to fuck it up, can you at least try to fuck it up as little as you can? *sigh*

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