In my book, Sapience, I write about many different kinds of robots in stories like “Husk” and “Swan.” Like many science fiction writers, one of the things I like about robots is how easy it is to imagine thousands of variations of them, some good, some frightening, and some funny. What’s more, there are tons of real life robots now, some of which look like they stepped straight out a scifi convention! Here’s a list of some of my favorite robots!
I hate vacuuming, so when the first roombas came out I was super excited to have a robot that could clean a floor. True, they were too expensive for me to get one at first, but the concept was there, and over the years roomba-type robots have improved in quality and come down in price. We actually have a Eufy now, which is in fact Amazon’s version of the roomba, and I love it! Honestly, the biggest problem is my toddler, who seems determined to single-handed prevent the robot apocalypse by banging the Eufy to an early grave.
Marvin the Paranoid Android
I love Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and Marvin the Paranoid Android is one of the reasons why. Although, is it fair to call Marvin paranoid, when it seems like people sort of are out to get him? Or that they at least forget about or ignore his feeling pretty much constantly? Nonetheless, he’s very funny, and I think he represents an interesting interpretation of robots. Marvin could likely takeover the Universe or at least rule the people around him, and yet for some reason he doesn’t. Instead, he decides to save them, even when they treat him like a bummer most of the time.
GIR from Invader Zim
Invader Zim is still one of my favorite cartoons/comic books, and GIR is a big reason why. He’s enthusiastic, funny. and joyful, even if he can be a bit stupid (or is he happy because he’s stupid? It’s definitely possible Jhonen Vasquez intended to make that point).
Definitely the cutest orange soccer ball robot I’ve ever seen. My daughter calls him “Baby 8,” and he’s so charming and enjoyable to watch! Personally, I think they could give BB8 a spin off Star Wars show for kids.
Atlas from Boston Dynamics
Have you seen the videos of what Atlas and Cheetah from Boston Dynamics can do? Wow. The future is now. Robots that were once a part of science fiction are becoming more possible everyday. And that’s why I think science fiction is so important. We need to imagine the future, and think about all the possible impacts that new technology, from robots to AI, could have on human beings. Certainly, there’s a possibility that robots could help us build a better, safer world. But there are great risks, too, and science fiction can help us figure out what those are before we have to welcome our new robot overlords.
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