Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2016
Isaac Asimov was NOT a great writer--you won't see anyone praising his brilliant style, his character arcs, or his thrilling action scenes. (90 percent of the action in his books is limited to a conversation between two people in a room.)
What he had was great IDEAS, and this book represents a whole slew of them. Beginning with Robbie, the prototype of a Jetsons-style house robot hired to babysit, he traces the use and development of robots, to end with them guiding the world's future.
In these pages, Asimov postulated the Three Laws of Robotics, now required reading for anyone working with robots or AI. Unlike most SF writers of his generation, he didn't see robots as mindless machines, but beings who can think and reason (and even feel emotion). The stories are told by Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist-- someone who specializes in robot minds-- a profession undreamt-of before this book.
Asimov was a product of his time, and 1950s office slang, technology and prejudices often crop up (such as making a red-haired Irishman quick-tempered). He also failed to predict digitalization, resulting in several laughable references to vacuum tubes and the like. But after awhile, you discount these flaws and remember only his brilliant ideas about what's to come.
BTW, the last chapter, with its ideas about mathematically guiding human socioeconomics, is a wonderful lead-in to Asimov's magnum opus, his Foundation series.