Post by James Nicoll
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
Another theme of Asimov's was that 'oppressive colony/racist colony/robotic colony' bit. The exact same situation, or one close to it, showed up in his separate juvenile series about Lucky Starr. In both cases, the colonies are heavily robotized and deeply hostile to the homeworld, in part on grounds of racial or 'eugenic' purity, though in the Starr series Earth is more powerful relative to the colonies, and probably capable to defeating any given one of them in a war.
Partly, I think this arose naturally from the nature of the robot societies Asimov was exploring in his stories. He specifically came up with the Three Laws of Robotics as a way of working around the 'robot destroys its creator/Frankenstein' concept. Somehow though, over the course of his overall story arcs, he ended up writing a story about robots out of control, and portraying the consequences of their presence in society negatively.
Partly, I think this was that he himself didn't see some of these negative consequences as being negative. But many he did, and I think he discovered that many of these outcomes arose from the natural, logical consequences of the presence of the robots.
The Spacer societies of the Bailey stories are varied, but they all have a certain overtone of slave-plantation aristocracy about them, with the robots in the slave role. The robots are so designed that they don't mind this, but it has some of the same negative effects on the aristocrats that such societies usually do, the laziness and stasis.
Also, the Spacers start instinctively being careful of what they say or do to avoid triggering the robot to be distressed or intervene (First Law). Various subtle negative effects become visible.
Of course the ultimate extreme of this is when R. Daneel and R. Giskard end up _destroying Earth_. From a design POV, it's hard to imagine a more utter system failure, the First Law ends up compelling exactly what it's supposed to prevent. But it arises naturally from the logic of the situation.