R U 4 Robots?

A robot with a white casing sits cross-legged in a room of monks all bowed down touching their heads to the floor. A man in a business suit stands behind the robot, angles and looking toward the robot. Prayer flags hang from the ceiling, and a stylized lotus flower in woven into the floor mat.

Two Nerds got a request we watch Automata, a steampunky short about a human private detective, his robot partner, and a murder mystery. This made us consider what robots do, as a trope, and what questions narratives with robots tend to pose. Mostly, we came back to the concepts of sentience, autotomy, and humanity, and how the robot shows those concepts in tension with one another. We speak at length about the middle section of a film called Doomsday Book, which concerns an enlightened robot, Blade Runner, the novel Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, the various androids in the Alien franchise, and droids in the Star Wars universe.

Author: Ceridwen

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