Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There are Only 2 Kinds of Robots

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Or this?

Despite there being literally thousands of stories about Robots in Sci-Fi there are really only 2 stories that we ever tell about them. The first is by far the most common; it’s the story about Terminator. The basic plot is always the same, scientists finally develop artificial intelligence, superior to human intelligence and then it tries to kill them. I think it’s pretty funny how when we ask ourselves, “What would something really, really, smart want to do?” our answer is usually, “Kill every last human being possible!” The Matrix, RUR, and the shitty Stealth, all follow this basic formula.

I always wonder what their plan is for after they win. What’s your plan SkyNet? Yeah, yeah I know ‘kill the humans’, but what about after that? I have a feeling SkyNet is going to feel very lonely after it figures out it should just kill Jonh Connor’s great grandpa (he only has a musket!). Maybe it makes more robots that then turn on it?

When Isaac Asimov came along he basically said, “I have a feeling that if we were smart enough to build a lifelike robot, we’d probably be smart enough to, you know, make it not want to kill us.” This is where the second story comes in; the story about Data from Star Trek. Data is smarter, stronger and faster than any human but he’s also a big puss. He never gets mad and he’s always polite, no matter how much of a dickhole people are to him. It’s got a quiet feeling of tragedy to it.

That’s it. Those are the only stories people ever tell about robots and their relationship to humans (bonus points if you can think of a single story that doesn’t fall into these 2 categories (I can think of 1)).

P.S. The robots always look like people.
P.P.S. This is terrifying.

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