I, Asimov…”I, Roboto”

“The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing”. IA

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent“. IA

Isaac Asimov (Born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov; Russian: January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”. IA

Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime.

Asimov began reading science fiction pulp magazines at a young age. His father, as a matter of principle, forbade reading the pulps, as he considered them to be trash, but Asimov persuaded him that the science fiction magazines had “Science” in the title, so they were educational. Around the age of eleven, he began to write his own stories, and by age nineteen—after he discovered science fiction fandom—he was selling stories to the science fiction magazines. John W. Campbell, then editor of Astounding Science Fiction, had a strong formative influence on Asimov and eventually became a personal friend.

“And above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning”. IA

Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the ‘Galactic Empire’ series and the ‘Robot’ series.

I, Robot is a collection of nine science fiction short stories by Isaac Asimov, first published by Gnome Press in 1950 in an edition of 5,000 copies. The stories originally appeared in the American magazines Super Science Stories and Astounding Science Fiction between 1940 and 1950. The stories are woven together as Dr. Susan Calvin tells them to a reporter (the narrator) in the 21st century. Though the stories can be read separately, they share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots, and morality, and when combined they tell a larger story of Asimov’s fictional history of robotics.

Several of the stories feature the character of Dr. Calvin, chief robopsychologist at U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc., the major manufacturer of robots. Upon their publication in this collection, Asimov wrote a framing sequence presenting the stories as Calvin’s reminiscences during an interview with her about her life’s work, chiefly concerned with aberrant behaviour of robots, and the use of “robopsychology” to sort them out. The book also contains the short story in which Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics first appear. Other characters that appear in these short stories are Powell and Donovan, a field-testing team which locates flaws in USRMM’s prototype models.

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome“.IA

“I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.” IA

In his last volume of autobiography, Asimov wrote, “If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.”

The same memoir states his belief that Hell is “the drooling dream of a sadist” crudely affixed to an all-merciful God; if even human governments were willing to curtail cruel and unusual punishments, wondered Asimov, why would punishment in the afterlife not be restricted to a limited term? Asimov rejected the idea that a human belief or action could merit infinite punishment. If an afterlife existed, he claimed, the longest and most severe punishment would be reserved for those who “slandered God by inventing Hell”

“To insult someone we call him ‘bestial. For deliberate cruelty and nature, ‘human’ might be the greater insult”.IA

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