September 28, 2010

Good Robot Role Models?

Let's face it.  According to science fiction entertainment, humans + robots = bad, bad, BAD news.  The robots get tired of doing our bidding, we mistreat them (okay, we do that a lot in sci-fi movies), or they're just under-lubricated and cranky.  That's when the world ends in a painful fashion.  Sometimes entire galaxies go down in the fight.

None of that will stop progression towards artificial intelligence though.  And since apparently, fictional TV shows and books are not necessarily prophecies of things to come, that's for the best.  Onward and upward with technology, I say.  However.  I can't even think of a good robot role model for us to follow in fiction.

Initially, I was going to praise the world of Star Wars robots.  They don't revolt; they are not angry.  They don't hate humans.  Sure, some of them work for the bad side, but they are programmed that way.  There have been a few traitors too, but by and large, the robots work alongside humans and aliens.  But?  They're also second class citizens and slaves.  Though some of them are respected and loved, like C-3PO and R2-D2, I think they are more often looked down upon.  "We don't serve their kind here."

Help me out; my sci-fi fu is limited.  Can you think of well-treated robots that didn't end up killing lots of humans?  Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation seems to fit the bill (um, we won't discuss his evil brother Lore).


  1. The bots on MST3K? The Robot from "Lost in Space" , sure Dr. Smith treated him poorly, but he was Will's best friend.

  2. Comics:
    DC's Red Tornado

    Marvel's Vision and Machine Man

    From TV I'd say (BSG SPOILER ALERT)
    Colonel Tigh turned out okay

    Cameron on Sarah Connor Chronicles killed a handful of humans, but they were all bad


    Bishop (aliens)

    Optimus Prime and the Autobots

    That's just off the top of my head though. ;)

  3. more of a comics angle, but Optimus Prime... Johnny 5... Twiki...

  4. Ok Lucas took all of my ideas.

    I vote for Wall-E.

    hmm maybe The Terminator? he can be considered good right.

    I forget the name of Winona Ryder's character in Alien Resurrection.

    The good robot from I,Robot?

  5. Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man.

    Bender. He's cranky, but he's never killed anyone.

    The Bionic Man. I know, he's a cyborg, but still...

    Arnie in T2. He didn't kill anyone. I swear.

    And on the subject of the Star Wars robots, why in God's name would you make a robot as annoying as C3-PO? I really don't need a mechanical whining machine in my life. Which leads me to Marvin the Paranoid Android. He never killed anyone, tho his life view *did* cause a spaceship to clit suicide....

    Buenos con queso,


  6. Er, make that *commit* suicide....

    Damn iPhone.


  7. Omg, I can't believe no one has mentioned Number 5, the adorable robot from the 1986 movie Short Circuit! He's a wonderful little guy. ^_^

  8. Gotta go back to Asimov. R. Daneel Olivaw from the Robot Novels (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn) is a great robot role model.

    Girls Are Geeks

  9. Johnny 5 is Alive! :) (I know William and Angela mentioned him too but....<3 him)

  10. You guys rock for all of these examples!

  11. Solace from Spider Robinson's Callahans series springs to mind. Granted, she was the internet, and not a Robot, but she ought to count.

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