Sidharth Vardhan

Asimov’s Foundation – a review

(A review by Sidharth VardhanOf I, Robot by Isaac AsimovFirst written on November 26, 2015) “PSYCHOHISTORY–…Gaal Dornick, using nonmathematical concepts, has defined psychohistory to be that branch of mathematics which deals with the reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli..” Isaac Asimov (Foundation) Psychohistory is interesting but not as interesting as robo-psychology (which is subject of ‘I, The Robot’). One of the reasons I love reading Asimov is that he is one of the few science fiction writers who does not make scientists look like fools. Most science fiction I’ve read or seen is about scientists releasing some kind of problem on the world – zombies created by T-virus, monsters created using parts of dead bodies, artificial intelligence gone mad and looking to destroy the world, time machines taking people to 10000 B. C. and so on. You could expect them to know better. ” such folly smacks of genius. A lesser mind would be incapable of it.” Now Asimov is different. Here, scientists are rather cool people often solving problems even before they arise. That is what made psychohistory so interesting – it gave them the ability to foresee future problems. “Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives.

They, The Robots

(A review by Sidharth VardhanOf I, Robot by Isaac AsimovFirst written on November 26, 2015) “If one and a half chickens lay one and a half eggs in one and a half days, how many eggs will none chickens lays in nine days?” Isaac Asimov (I, Robot) This is incredible, the best of all science fiction I have read yet. As Fredrick Pohl put it: “A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.” Fredrick Pohl Asimov not only does that – and he goes one step further, he proposes a solution for the metaphorical traffic jam – in this case ethical issues related to AI, in form of his popular ‘three laws of robotics’ : 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where 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. The laws, as you can see, have nothing to do with the mechanics but rather their