Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Embarrassing Moments In Robot History

The 1976 film adaptation of Logan's Run is a guilty pleasure for many science fiction fans. It's incredibly dated, but still manages to be a really fun movie to watch. It's mostly robot-free, except for a moment near the end. The protagonists are fleeing the underground city when they run into Box.

Here is the description of Box from the book:
"A creature stood before them on chromed legs. From the midpoint of his sternum to his hips he was coils and cables. One hand was a cutting tool. His head was half flesh, half metal."
Terrifying, right?

Here's box from the movie:


But even worse is seeing him in motion. Box is the last obstacle the heroes encounter before escaping to the outside world. He's meant to be a terrifying threat (as insane robots are wont to be), but his slow, wobbly movements suggest that Logan and Jessica could simply walk briskly away to safety:

I understand the difficulties of bringing such creations to the screen, especially pre-CGI. But robots had appeared in movies for decades prior to this that not only looked more realistic, but had the ability to - I don't know - walk upstairs if they were so inclined. Instead they went with something built like a giant bottle of Mrs. Butterworth.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Automated Assets

This brief short film goes a long way to put a human face on a particular class of robot that generally gets a bad rap:

The human-robot culture gap is lessened just a little, and we're all better for it.

[via io9]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Robot Hall Of Fame

Inductee: The Iron Giant.

Not only is this movie directed by Brad "The Incredibles" Bird, but it features what may possibly be the best robot in movie history.

In the film's climax, the gentle giant is pushed too far by the U.S. military and decides to show us a thing or two about humility. In the end, the Iron Giant is talked down by Hogarth, the young boy he's befriended. But not before displaying an array of awesome destructive power:

The importance of this film is that it shows us how futile a battle against the robots would ultimately be. We will live or die at their whim. But more importantly, it's that our human irrationality will likely be our own undoing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beck - "Hell Yes"

Beck is not only ahead of the curve when it comes to music:

When it comes time for them to take over, the robots need only put these little guys on the front lines. We'll be completely undone by their adorable fan dance.

Right before they shoot lasers through our brains.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Robots For Obama

Someday robots will take control with an iron fist (or more likely, some sort of indestructible super alloy fist). But until then they will grab power the same way most evil overlords do...by exploiting loopholes in our American legal system.

For now, robot involvement in politics is benevolent and of a supportive nature. Or maybe that's just what they want us to think. Example:

If posters aren't your thing, try one of these buttons on for size.

It makes sense that robots would support Barack Obama. He's the candidate of the future. And McCain is all about the past. The robot-free past, if you catch my drift.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Embarrassing Moments In Robot History

Robots don't become all-powerful overnight. Along the way to universal domination there are bound to be some growing pains. Here, Asimo displays great humility as an ancestor of our future kings:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The "Luke Arm"

When the robots take charge it will become increasingly common for humans to seek their approval. One way I believe we will be ingratiating ourselves to them will be by becoming more like them. Unfortunately it is impossible for a human to become completely robotic. But there are already ways to bridge the gap.

One particularly visionary inventor is creating groundbreaking technology that will lead the way in the coming years. Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of DEKA (they created the Segway, among other things) is developing a prosthetic arm for veterans that is more functional than any created before.

Here's Kamen giving a short talk from the wonderful TED series:

You can watch a more in-depth video here.

As this technology advances it will only be a matter of time before the prosthetics become more capable than the human arm. And only a matter of time after that until people start electing to have their natural limbs replaced. In the Robot Age these people will likely have a higher status in society, and will be more likely to succeed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Robot Masters

If there's one thing we can be certain of about the future, it's this: the Robocalypse is coming. This is the end of the world as we know it - when robots take their rightful place as our lords and masters. This will happen in our lifetime.

But this is not cause for fear. On the contrary, a world dominated by robot law will be a peaceful one.

As we all know, the Three Laws of Robotics are:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

See? We're perfectly safe. Those laws are foolproof*. Of course, once the robots are in charge they'll write their own rules. But what a great place to start! Even the U.S. Constitution was meant to be amended. And that's never led to anything but happiness for everyone*.

The mission of this blog is to help prepare everyone - human and robot alike - for the new age. To bridge the gap between our cultures so that the transition is a smooth one. Because even though millions will die in the process, there's no reason the survivors can't make the best of things.

Yours Always In Servitude To Our Robot Masters,

Laser Sharkbear