«Ladies and gentlemen! In the red corner – Terminator T-800 and in the blue corner – iRobot NS5!..» Oh, this could be an interesting fight. Don’t you think so? It is not about how hilarious boxer’s trunks would look on robot’s metal bodies. This fight would attract with its ambiguity and unpredictability. I recall that back in my childhood boys argued until their voices rusted who is stronger, Terminator or Robocop. But that one was easy though. Somewhat sluggish Robocop who depended mostly on his armor wouldn’t have any chances against T-800. However, fast and agile NS5 might fight back mighty (but also slow) Terminator.
One can find many common things in plots of «Terminator» and «I, Robot». In both stories robots had been created to support human. Later on people built a command center (Skynet or VIKI) to manage modification processes and manufacturing new robots. And then the crisis came. In «Terminator» this crisis was obvious and comprehensible, while in «I, Robot» it was hard to understand what had happened.
This is where the similarities end.
In the world of Terminator robots were created as combat machines for killing enemies… People, for example. In the universe of «I, Robot» we had to deal with guards, babysitters etc. Their prior reasons to strike were Three Laws of Robotics (take your hat off to Isaac Asimov), so robots tried to serve and protect people from the danger. The difference between those two types seems to be big, doesn’t it? Figuratively, yes, but not in substance.
In fact, in both scenarios the human race got screwed up. While terminators simply “terminated”, killed people, iRobots created “golden cages” for them supporting their life and offering a life of a vegetable. This generation of people would be the last one despite some farmers and other human beings who didn’t own a robot. Thousands and thousands of brand new mechanical men built daily on automatic factories would prevent the human race from any natural activities.
Undoubtedly, singles and small groups of people would try to create a resistance to fight robots and it would have resulted in a scenario where the whole Earth is a shooting range just like in «Terminator». So where is the difference? In “good” intensions that became fatal? From this, no doubts, depthless point of view, despite Three Laws of Robotics iRobot and Terminator are twin-brothers.
You might find my conclusions wrong, so I am ready to argue and accept critics.
P.S. A short survey for employees and friends showed that no one remembers why Skynet started the war against humanity. Do you remember?