An obvious nod to Isaac Asimov (even says so in his introduction) with its references to the three laws of robotics, Io, Robot also strikes me in its similarities to WALL-E, which is funny considering this story precedes that movie. Sam (Semi Autonomous Machine) is a data collection unit on one of the moons of Jupiter, specifically Io. It has been stranded there for twenty years, compiling information and cannibalizing its fellow robots for spare parts.
When it encounters humans again for the first time since it came to Io, interesting questions start to arise. What makes someone human? Will our dependence and integration with technology one day make us more machine than man or woman? What will the machines under our control think of us (if they think) when we begin to look more like them and less like ourselves?
I admit, this story was actually a very creepy read for me. Sam is not WALL-E, whatever superficial similarities there are between them. This is not a cute and cuddly robot that has been anthropomorphized. This is very much a cold machine, with very calculating thoughts. The ending is surprising and chilling, and makes you think about all those hours you spend attached to your electronics. Would you make good spare parts for them?
Io, Robot is really where this anthology starts to take off.