A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.
Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer.
The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot—and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!
Full disclosure: I’m an Asimov fan from 30 years ago, but I love 21st century sci-fi, and also loved the i Robot movie, but that film bears little resemblance to this classic that is not at all outdated. The Caves of Steel is more in the timeframce of the movie plot, but better! Chapter 14, and I just read through a description of what is basically a thumbdrive (magnetically impregnated hand held cube which plugs into a personally-encrypted viewer for police detectives) and a visiting roboticist uses an notebook sized library to access texts. and the detective and robot have arguments over what a robot (versus a human) can or can’t possibly understand! I’m on the edge of my seat: Asimov is apparently a successful thriller writer, as well! It’s not perfect: his women are a little 2-dimensional, but the robot/human relationship is basically an ethnic one, which questions the way we see others.