Thursday, February 19, 2009

Robots Will Take Over the World!

Many sf stories show us a future in which robots and other sorts of intelligent machines show their true colors--and their colors are evil! The HAL 9000 is classic, of course. And think of The Terminator, or The Matrix, or the original 1970's version of Battlestar Galactica. Of course, as these narratives unfold further, matters get more complicated. Arnold is a good guy in T2 and T3. Not all the sentient programs in the Matrix are bad. And the Cylons in the new BSG? Well, that's a really complicated story, isn't it?

Still, the idea of evil killer robots has a lasting appeal, so it's no surprise that some people have lots of fun playing with this idea. What's your favorite evil robot story?


David B. Ellis said...

To me the flipside is more interesting: robot slaves.

Why, for example, do so few Star Wars fans ever notice that R2D2 and C3PO are slaves (they're clearly sentient beings....but also property, the very definition of slavery)? And then attempt convoluted rationalizations to explain it away.

randy jensen said...

While the story of the robot as master is more venerable (and much more frequently encountered) than that of robot as slave, I'd agree with you that the latter is more interesting--and more likely to be a live concern at some point.

In my philosophy and science fiction class we watched the STNG episode "The Measure of a Man," in which there's a trial to determine if the android Data is property. And we read "If I Were a Droid," from Star Wars and Philosophy, which makes the same point you do about droids in the SW universe. There's another post in here, isn't there?