Subscribe to this podcast

Listen&Learn: I, Robot

Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about Isaac Asimov’s classic stories of artificial intelligence
I, Robot

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • compile: to collect multiple documents and put them in one place
  • interview: a meeting where a reporter asks someone questions about their life and experiences
  • ethical: good; not harmful to anyone
  • criticize: to speak negatively about something or someone
  • trope: a common storyline in works of fiction
  • morality: a set of rules that humans use to define good and evil
  • artificial intelligence: a program that is designed to think like a human

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

I, Robot is a collection of fiction stories by American writer and scientist Isaac Asimov. The stories were originally published in science fiction magazines. They were compiled into a book in 1950. The stories are structured as parts of an interview with a robotics named Susan Calvin. Throughout the book, robots follow Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. These laws are designed to ensure that robots make ethical . At the time, Asimov’s book was for describing robots as humanlike beings. Asimov often criticized a trope he called the “Frankenstein complex,” which was the belief that robots would eventually turn against their creators. Although has changed since I, Robot was published, it is still seen as an important exploration of morality in artificial intelligence.

Comprehension questions

See answers below

  1. The stories in I, Robot are structured as
    a. journal entries
    b. parts of an interview
    c. letters
  2. The Three Laws of Robotics are meant to ensure that
    a. robots think like humans
    b. robots function properly
    c. robots make ethical decisions
  3. The “Frankenstein complex” is the belief that
    a. robots will never be as smart as humans
    b. robots will eventually turn against their creators
    c. robots are incapable of emotions

Discussion/essay questions

  1. In recent years, scientists have made many advancements in artificial intelligence. Do you think robots will ever be able to think like humans? Do you think it will happen in the near future? Why or why not?

Transcript

I, Robot is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer and scientist Isaac Asimov. The stories were originally published in science fiction magazines. They were compiled into a book in 1950. The stories are structured as parts of an interview with a robotics expert named Susan Calvin. Throughout the book, robots follow Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. These laws are designed to ensure that robots make ethical decisions. At the time, Asimov’s book was unique for describing robots as humanlike beings. Asimov often criticized a trope he called the “Frankenstein complex,” which was the belief that robots would eventually turn against their creators. Although technology has changed since I, Robot was published, it is still seen as an important exploration of morality in artificial intelligence.

Answers to comprehension questions

1b 2c 3b

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

Search for more Listen&Learn stories:

Subscribe to this podcast

RSS Feed RSS feed

7 comments

Leave a comment