Sci-Fi or Science Fiction is a genre of fiction that includes an imagined innovation in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting. I, Robot directed by Alex Proyas and Before Eden written by Arthur C. Clarke are both Sci-Fi texts that feature these Sci-Fi elements. I, Robot is an action Sci-Fi movie that investigates the suspicious suicide of Dr. Lanning, the man who created robots. Before Eden is a novel that takes place not on Earth, but on Venus, following the adventure of Jerry and Hutchins as they discover new life. Even though these two texts are different, they both show the conventions of science fiction in an entertaining and effective way. I, Robot and Before Eden face the issue of a society that is ever-dependant on technology, and that is carelessly in destroying the things around us, thus bringing about our own doom.
The setting of I, Robot is established from the outset; Alex Proyas has made sure the responder is aware this film is set in the near future. He establishes the setting by taking the responder out into the streets of Chicago in 2035. The mise-en-scene portrays the bustling city streets, full of people alive and going about their day to day life. Del Spooner, the protagonist played by Will Smith, goes outside and we see a futuristic world where humans and robots interact. Robots are seen delivering newspapers, walking dogs and generally doing tasks to make the humans life easier and more efficient. The skyscrapers rise from the ground more profusely than they do in our time. This gives the feeling that Alex Proyas wants to make the city seem futuristic but not so alien that we cannot recognise it.
Spooner is a cop that has a robot phobia, and this trait is established early. In the opening scenes Spooner quickly pushes a robot making a delivery out of the way as he leaves his apartment. He immediately suspects a robot that is running with a purse and gives chase only to find the robot is running a woman her asthma puffer. The responder is left knowing that Spooner really dislikes robots and wants to do anything he can to prove they are wrong. But why? Suspense heightens as the plot unfolds and we watch on to find out.
Spooner is on the case to find out why Dr. Alfred Lanning committed suicide. Lanning has somehow used a holographic projector to get a message letting know Spooner know that his death is suspicious. The investigation takes Spooner to a room full of 1001 NS-5 robots where he has to find the one robot that is out of place. The scene shows the enormity and impact these robots have made on society. They are lined up in rows and columns that seem never-ending, which shows the uniformity and structure within society. The robots have an order and are controlled. Spooner is juxtaposed with this control; he is irrational and even shoots at one showing his lack of respect for what they represent.
Sonny is an NS-5. He belongs to Dr. Lanning and was programmed and made differently to all the other NS-5’s. Sonny has stronger alloy, is emotional, can dream and has a secondary positronic brain. This means he can override the 3 laws that govern human and robot interaction.
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 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 Laws.
Spooner accuses him of the murder of Dr. Lanning, though no one believes Spooner; robots do not commit crimes against humans. It is ironic that at the end of the film Sonny was Lanning’s murderer and he did break the 3 laws because he was ordered to by Lanning.
I, Robot warns our current world to be careful with our reliance on technology. It warns us