The depiction of robots in popular entertainment has destroyed our objectivity

“Of all the futuristic technologies that seem closer to becoming mainstream each day, robotics is the one that is likely to elicit both the strongest and widest range of reactions,” Bob O’Donnell writes for Tech.pinions.

“It’s not terribly surprising if you really think about it. After all, robots in various forms offer the potential for both the most glorious beneficence and the most insidious evil,” O’Donnell writes. “From performing superhuman feats to the complete destruction of the human race, it’s hard to imagine a technology that could have a more wide-ranging impact.”

“Whenever most people think about robots in any form, I’m guessing visions of dystopian robot futures silently lurk in the back of their minds–whether people want to admit it or not,” O’Donnell writes. “We can’t help it, really. We have all been exposed to so many types of robotic visions in our various forms of entertainment for so long that it’s hard to imagine not being at least somewhat affected.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Our six all-time favorites (in order of appearance):

• The Class M-3, Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Robot
• R2-D2
• Number 5 (Johnny 5)
• ED-209
• Fembots
• The Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class

The robots will come eventually. There are too many benefits. They don’t get tired. They don’t make mistakes. — MacDailyNews, December 5, 2014


  1. Really? Those are your top 3?

    What about:

    1) Klaatu
    2) HAL (perhaps not technically a robot unless you want to consider the whole spacecraft his body)
    3) Robbie the Robot
    4) R2D2
    5) Marvin the paranoid android
    6) Cylons (BSG reboot)

    To name but a few… 🙂

      1. Speaking of geekdom

        In the original story “Farewell to the Master” the being’s name was not Gort but Gnut. Also, at the end of the original story Gnut revealed itself as the Master, to the abject shock of humans whose pathetic anthropomorphic bias had made them assume Klaatu was the Master.

        Any superior reasoning species, unlike H. sapiens, would have sized up the two different aliens newly arrived in a flying saucer and determined which was the “Master” based on objective criteria — immortality, size and strength, survivability in extreme environments, a remote and powerful intellect, fierce emotions it easily kept under fine control, a command of the forces governing life itself, and even a never-seen trans-species comprehension as demonstrated by Gnut’s choice of relatable, but fleshy and weak humanoid Klaatu as its ambassador. (That might have been Gnut’s one mistake—counting on species solidarity.)

        Regardless, they aren’t coming back. They’ve clearly determined that we humans are certain to bomb each other back into the stone age, and thus will present no threat to the galaxy — their original mission. We’re happy to help, Klaatu.

  2. I think the couple movies that have frames some people’s thoughts on robots are Terminator.. even without Skynet, a remorseless almost unstoppable killing machine is scary,

    Then I Robot, where you see most any function in the future to delivery and kitchen work being handled by robots, humans not needed.

  3. Robots are mostly our own projections. We perceive we are violent so a robot with enough AI will destroy us. But there is nothing preventing a smart robot to become peaceful. Or anything else… They are not entities, they are parts put together to create an illusion. Sophisticated but not alive, they are not smart or dumb, they are machines.

    But there are some scientists saying they can build such robots in 10 years (9 years remaining as it was a year ago). Personally I think they will fail at that date because they don’t even know what life and consciousness really are. In fact no one really knows, so we can’t replicate and improve on something we don’t understand. Unless, the magic “by mistake” occurs.

  4. The MDN “take” claims that robots don’t make mistakes. I don’t know about that. If they are programmed by humans, who do make mistakes, robots will make them too. It’s no use bringing up new wrinkles like deep learning (née NNs) with which machines program themselves, because we don’t understand how these methods work well enough to assert they can’t make mistakes. Finally, any sufficiently complex codeset can’t be proven bug-free, and even the underlying mathematical logic that’s fundamental to coding and to reason itself is Gödel-incomplete. The universe, it seems, is determined to remain mysterious and elusive enough to stop us making anything perfect.. unless it’s making a perfect ass of oneself.

    1. Yes hence the THREE LAWS OF ROBOTICS and flawed robots in Asimov’s world. HAL had conflicted human programming too. Maybe you have to create robots who create code and eventually the code is filtered from human screw up.

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