I'm currently reading Asimov's 1976 Bicentennial Man with the fabulous 1970's Chris Foss cover [top left]. I've not finished yet but the anticipation is mounting [particuarly on account of the cover!] I've just read a brilliant 'Batty of Blade Runner' like description of what the robot sees and feels as it sets foot on Mercury for first time. The journey to this point has been excellent: Susan Calvin the robo-guru, the two George bots and latterly the Mercurial one. The footnotes concerning Asimov's anecdotal history of this anthology are equally fascinating. It's simply amazing that he and so many other people were not only interested but making a living from sci-fi so long ago! And yes, I'm jealous! I've included an online shot of the 1st edition cover for comparison with it's 'thinking' robot. I'll report back when I've read it all [and I've never seen the Robin William's film either].
In some respects Asimov's book reminds me of the rise of the super-computer Colossus in the 1960's novel of the same name by D.F.Jones [mine is the later purple cover. To the right is the original 1966 cover with what appears to be snail straddling the earth?] Obviously Jones knew of computers back then as I suppose they were just entering the fringes of popular consciousness. But I wonder if he or any author or artist knew of the development of the internet in the 50's and 60's? A super-computer is one thing [like HAL 2000] but a super-network is another. The one that springs to mind immediately from film is SKYNET from the Terminator trilogy but I'm sure there'll be earlier 'nets' in popular culture. You can see what you recognise in this cool list of fictional computers [Wikipedia].
In some ways the similarity between robots and computers reminds me of that, albeit subtler, connection between the Internet and the World Wide Web, which are inextricabley linked in the modern consciousness. It seems that the two words, internet and WWW, are universally interchangeable and deemed to be the same thing by most people. As you'll know the WWW, the creation of one of the most 'important living geniuses', Sir Tim Bernard-Lees, is in effect a child of the internet, it's popular off-spring sort of. Are robots and computers viewed in the same way? Is one the other? Or are robots not yet developed enough for us care yet?