I. Love. Robots.
My love of robots and other mechanical people started young–very young–with the TV show Lost in Space. Admitting that dates me, but I remember running around the block, waving my arms and screaming “Danger, Danger Will Robinson,” because “the Robot” (sort of like “the Doctor”, okay its a stretch) was, and remains, my favorite character from the show. The Robot signified, at least to me, how to befriend someone very different, the increasing importance of mechanical devices in our life and the need to think deeply about that, and the assumption that mechanical devices are are friends–usually.
The next set of robots that clanked into my life exacerbated my fangirl leaning toward mechanical characters. I discovered old movies and from those classics, Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet) and Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still) stood out. Like the Robot, both remained subject to humanoid direction, but both were mechanical beings in places where machines or humanoid mechanical creations were not all good.
The machine became the answer to the machine.
This theme now permeates culture. And what a key questions we struggle with now are: “Where are the lines, specifically how much do machines serves us and at what point do we go to far? At what point, does sentience come into play?
Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, Philip K. Dick’s Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep (aka Blade Runner) take on these themes and remain relevant reads and films trying to answer these questions, as do many others. Answers are not easy and they are getting more complex.
On TV, enter Data on Star Trek TNG, a fully mechanical being, who seems to have a soul, pitted against the Borg, an integration of machine and biological matter, which does not while connected to the hive mind. Now that we’ve hit the 21st century struggle, the question of what it means to be human when we rely increasingly on machines, which are getting smarter, faster, cheaper, is starting to loom large?
And what threats do they present? Terminator took that question head on as does Transformers. In both, we see machine vs machine as a core underlying message.
Now, as we move firmly into the digital age, with an increasing reliance on bytes and metal, these questions are even more pressing. I still love robots, but will they love us? What do you think? (spooky music plays in the background).
Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. Meet Jocelyn, a single mom who gets a second chance at love in her newest book Next Move available from Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.
Posted on September 3, 2013, in Sabrina Garie and tagged Blade Runner, Borg, Data, Gort, I Robot, Lost in Space, Robby the Robot, Robots, Sabrina Garie, Science Fiction, SciFi, Star Trek, Terminator, Transformers. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.