One of Asimov's favorite techniques was to devise a premise and then come up with ways of violating the premise. In the stories in this collection robots are programed to follow three fundamental laws in order to protect humanity. In each story some situation arises in which robots appear to behave irrationally or to violate the laws, but it is always revealed to be due to some imperceptible danger or ambiguous human instructions.
The stories reflect a sort of technocratic world view in which humanity can only be saved by placing itself in the hands of thinking machines that are incapable of error and programed with higher ethical standards than mere humans can live up to. It is an idea that would have given Friedrich Hayek a heart attack.
What makes the stories so clunky to a modern reader is the way people in Asimov's future talk and behave just like people in a 1940's movie. Everyone smokes, everyone drinks, and everyone talks in a tough guy banter that does not vary from character to character. I, Robot is one of Asimov's most famous books, but it is my least favorite of his works.