Fridge / I, Robot


Fridge Brilliance

  • One way to prove whether or not Stephen Byerley was a robot would be to put a loaded gun in front of him and order him to shoot himself. If he is human, then he can refuse. If he is a robot, then he will be compelled to obey.
    • Based on what we see of him, I suspect Byerley would shoot himself anyway, human or not. If he could get away with shooting himself somewhere non-lethal, he would, and then refuse to let anybody examine the wound. The only way to be really sure would be to explicitly specify a lethal injury — and killing him is further than most people would be prepared to go to settle the question. — Paul A
    • So you order him to shoot himself. Has someone else ordered him to do otherwise, to stay safe from harm? As a tiebreaker, does Byerley know he'll keep doing his best to protect people so long as he exists, such that shooting himself at this point will only result in more harm to humans?


Fridge Brilliance

  • Del Spooner is played by Will Smith, a black man. Spooner's "canner" slur that he uses towards robots harks back to, ugly as it is to think about, the way racists use the word "nigger" for black people. Perhaps done intentionally, to show that Spooner is so blinded by bigotry that he doesn't even see the possible connection and that he's doing to robots what was also done to black people generations ago.
  • So why didn't the robot running with the bag stop when Spooner ordered it to? This would appear to violate the second law, except that the owner's inhaler was in the bag. Stopping as instructed might violate the first law by allowing the robot's owner to come to harm.
  • Like Spooner says, the USR superstructure has "poor building planning," with thin walkways and no hand rails leading to the main console controlling VIKI's interface. When you think about it, really, who's going to try and shut off a super-computer suspended far above the ground floor on tiny metal pathways?
  • Every day Del's grandmother makes him one or more pies, which he eats in one sitting. It seems like an arbitrary character trait, but if you think about it all the sugar and calories probably power his artificial arm. Also explains him dumping a half-dozen spoonfuls of sugar in his coffee toward the beginning. (Unless that's a pun on his name.)
    • As well as the seemingly gratuitous shower scene early in the film, which serves as a point on second viewing.
  • When asked about Lanning, Sonny says he "did not murder him!" Lanning ordered him to. It was a suicide.
  • Dr Lanning is shown to have planned his Batman Gambit insanely well... anticipating Spooner and Sonny's actions throughout the story. Given his closeness to Calvin, he no doubt anticipated that when Sonny attempted to run, she'd naturally seal the room. Sonny would then naturally follow in his footsteps by throwing himself out of the window and landing exactly where his body did.
    • Lanning also may have intended this so that he would land in front of the 3 Laws, symbolising the creator's wish for the death of the 3 laws. When Sonny would do this the force of him landing beside the 3 Laws, would send cracks running towards them, symbolising that Sonny, the creation, would break them.
  • Why did Lanning know that a second Positronic brain would allow a robot to outright defy or reinterpret the 3 laws? Simple! He had done it before. VIKI! Viki had in fact been the basis! It's why she could effortlessly tell the other NS-5s to disobey the rules! And how did she start "reinterpret" the rules? The first NS-5 that was hooked up to her wireless signal. She had already been given another brain, and so on and so forth. It's why Lanning created Sonny and gave him no wireless signal, Sonny wouldn't be able to defy her had he been on a wireless signal like his "Brothers" because 2 Brains are trumped by thousands!
  • Sonny's second Positronic brain, the one that lets him override the Three Laws, is built into his chest. Dr. Lanning gave him a heart. No wonder VIKI doesn't understand, and Sonny does, that her plan is "heartless."
  • Why are robots designed to be personal assistants and servants super fast and super strong? They are also designed to protect humans, and are thus overengineered to be capable of, say, quickly extracting a struggling powerfully built man from a wrecked car.
    • Which in itself would be a massive marketing boon, but also: "It can change the engine in your car!" (Show an NS-5 lifting the engine block out by hand.) "It can do landscaping!" (Show an NS-5 ripping a tree stump out of the ground by hand.) "It can even make your children smile!" (Show an NS-5 leaping thirty feet into the air to retrieve a child's lost balloon.) "Order yours today!"
    • Because "Protect Humans" is one of the Three Laws? As shown with the old models, they can save people's lives by rescuing them with super strength and/or retrieving medicine with super-speed. The Three Laws extend to all humans, not just the owners.

Fridge Horror

  • With the whole world in her pocket thanks to the NS 5's. It seems illogical for VIKI to have killed Robertson. Until you realize the man must have been persistently trying to shut VIKI down once he learned the truth. When he continually refused her benevolent dictatorship, he signed his own death warrant. Though on the plus side, it shows the man wasn't one hundred percent a dick like Spooner thought.
  • When Spooner is being attacked in his car by the robots who nonsensically insist he's having a car accident? That's not just Viki employing Implausible Deniability. The robots are hallucinating that they're saving him, to get around their first law restrictions. Think about that from their perspective now. It's unpleasant.
    • Especially considering how all the NS-5s were locked away at the end of the movie for their part in the rebellion, when they were literally on remote control the entire time. If robot's have any sort of self-awareness, they have to be wondering why they're held accountable for VIKI's actions.
    • Not to mention what the overall social backlash is going to be like for the other robots that had nothing to do with it, remote controlled or otherwise. Consider that the older robots in the junkyard had at least the awareness to realize that the supposedly Three-Laws Compliant NS-5s were a very serious danger to Spooner.

Fridge Logic

  • Has anyone been taking care of Dr. Lanning's cat since he passed away? Given the setting, it's entirely reasonable that there's a USR product that does exactly that, but the first we see of the cat is when it's hanging the house that's due to be demolished the next day.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but Spooner gave the cat to his grandmother.