It is no surprise that robot movies have a special place in the science fiction movieverse and, if I may add, in our hearts.
They show us how cold and very dead parts made of various materials, with a seasoning of wires, chips and circuits, come alive if we add a dash of programming, a sprinkling of power cells and a touch of personality.
To tell a story these movies show us a variety of robot types. You can find everything here from handsome two-legged boxes and cylinders with funny no-elbow-no-knee walk and machine-voice speech to exciting gynoids and androids.
Just as much as we are interested in hardware, we are also curious to see what they can do with their software. It is fun to watch how fast, strong, emotionless machines loaded with data snap to attention, ready to serve, protect or kill (hopefully, our enemies).
After all, as a friend of mine says, robots are like pancakes. They can be everything we want them to be, we just have to stuff them with the right filling, I mean, programming.
But robot films do not only tell stories about robots, they also tackle a variety of delicate and serious issues like the dangers of technology, our attitude towards "artificial persons", and the most important question of all, "What does it mean to be human?"
To quote robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson, author of the book How To Survive a Robot Uprising:
"The basic reason we humans both fear and revere robots is that they can do what we do, and sometimes do it better. Robots remind us of ourselves, and that can be truly terrifying."
Robot movies deal with our fear of being controlled, replaced or enslaved by our own creation.
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They can easily make us cry or laugh showing how robots, in effort to become more human, struggle to understand our emotions or the finer points of language.
These movies also bring up the issue of discrimination and show how we reject and abandon our artificial creatures when they become more than machines by depriving them of the basic rights.
Robot movies allow us to look at the world from another perspective, to learn and explore more. This makes them a precious destination in our science fiction movie quest.
They show us enough to fall in love with robots.
And, of course, we do.
Gunslinger from the movie Westworld
Hector from the movie Saturn 3
Johnny 5 from the movie Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2
Robby the Robot from the movie Forbidden Planet
Robotic spider from the movie Runaway
Sid 6.7 from the movie Virtuosity
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