I just read Asimov's 1950's version of the Matrix. When reading this book, one has to realize the era that it was written. It is hard to read a science fiction book that is suppose to take place in the future, but the future is actually present day. The book is a series of stories about robots, and the inherent questions and worries that come along with the artificial intelligence. Humans have advanced technology enough to make robots that can think and understand on their own, but the humans do not fully understand their technology. It's kind of like handing a 15 year old to the keys to a Blackhawk helicopter. It will be radical and interesting, but it would eventually end up very bad. Nevertheless, Asimov's portrayal of the future and human's technical advances is quite fascinating. It plays into the fear that most humans have of being overthrown by their own inventions. We as a species like to depend on themselves to survive, and we become very worried when a machine is handed the keys to the Blackhawk. Knowing this, the creators of the robots came up with three rules that govern this technological advancement. These three rules are:
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 the orders given 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.
These rules sound full-proof on paper, but the brilliance of the book is the way Asimov puts the robots in situations that endanger the rules to be broken. Inevitably it is the humans that have to correct the problems, because the machines are set up to follow the guidelines set to them, and it is this that Asimov points out to the reader. No matter how great the invention, or how much easier our life will be with this new technology, it will always be the complexity of the human mind and its ability to solve problems that will govern this world. The reader can never really discern whether Asimov is for or against the technology, but his ability to write about it cannot be questioned. He was ahead of his time, even though he has been proven to be somewhat inaccurate. Then again, what does inaccuracy matter when you're writing fiction.