Is it Murder to Kill an Intelligent, Self-Aware Robot?
Is it murder if the robot kills a human?
Those are only some of the questions raised by this superior novel about the creation of a humanoid robot named Isaac. The novel begins when Sam, the night watchman for a robotics firm, finds a scientist dead at his computer. As he examines the body, Isaac approaches him. Sam panics, shoots the machine through the chest and flees.
In flashbacks we meet the people at the heart of Isaac's origins—and at the heart of the story—including: his creator, Geri Chrenowski, a strong-willed robotics expert and ambitious woman whose drive to climb the corporate ladder makes enemies of her underlings and ruins her love life; Jack Westcott, a scientist once brilliant in the field of artificial intelligence, whose passionate pacifism (and his fight to keep his young mistress) endanger the Isaac Project; Frederick Wolfgang, petty tyrant and bigot, whose egoism and prejudice cause a major disaster; Elizabeth Wolfgang, psychologist and browbeaten wife of Frederick, whose empathetic personality, although marred by her low self-esteem, teaches Isaac about humanity—and then of course, there is ISAAC himself, their creation, childlike and super-intelligent, who begins to have a mind of his own.