Seeing how it’s only a matter of time before computers take over the world and enslave us, let’s take this chance to look back at our favourite movie robots of all time. You know, before our new machine overlords erase our memories forever.
1. R2-D2 from Star Wars
Manufactured by Industrial Automaton as part of their R2 series, Artoo-Detoo isn’t your run-of-the-mill astromech droid.
Capable of hacking computers, putting out fires, repairing starships delivering drinks on slave barges, this tiny unit is one of the most versatile models ever built. Over the course of decades, he’s also managed to be present at just about every major galactic event from the discovery of Anakin Skywalker to the destruction of both Death Stars!
2. Johnny Five from Short Circuit
Created by the United States military at the height of the cold war, Number 5 was given life by a freak electrical storm — a common occurrence in 80s movies. Driven by his new-found craving for ‘input’, this highly advanced killing machine transformed himself into Johnny Five: an adorable, pop culture-quoting, smack-talking dude on tracks!
3. Pris from Blade Runner
If you’re planning to colonise Mars, you’re going to need yourselves some replicants to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. They basically look like humans but for some reason, nobody seems to mind if they end up trapped underneath some boulder on the Red Planet. Once you have your colony set up, you’re going to need to start building your new civilisation which is going to require some sexy replicants to do a lot of the ‘comfort work’ that humans aren’t willing to do themselves. Enter Pris: your ‘basic pleasure model’ designed for off-world use.
4. The NS-5 Robots from I, Robot
So, you live in a world where robots are absolutely everywhere. They do next to every kind of job imaginable. Hate walking your dog? Robots will do it! Can’t bear listening to your husband moan about his boss? The robot can nod reassuringly until he is placated!
These robots are almost entirely safe thanks to the Three Laws of Robotics that ensure that they:
1) may never harm a human or allow a human to come to harm through inaction;
2) must obey the orders given to them by humans, unless it conflicts with rule 1; and
3) must protect its own existence, as long as it doesn’t conflict with rules 1 and 2.
With these three rules in place there definitely can be no logical loopholes that, when exploited, can bring about the downfall of humanity. Definitely no worries.
Guns don’t have consciences. But if they did, you would hope that they look and sound like this adorable intergalactic traveller. Like a new born child, he has no memory of his past; and despite his over-sized metallic body, he plays well with other kids. Concerned parents should bear in mind, though: though the Giant may have a heart of gold, he also has laser eyes and can level an entire city in an hour.
6. Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet
Robby is pretty much the best robot pal any hermetic scientist could ever hope for. He can drive atomic cars but most excitingly, he can ‘cook food’ through a process of replication. All you have to do is stuff a food item into his port (or ‘pie-hole’) and his small in-built chemical laboratory will reproduce it ad infinitum, allowing him to excrete pies on demand. Who wouldn’t want one of these around the house? As an added bonus, Robby is “monitored to respond to 187 languages” although his mis-use of the word monitored in the following clip would suggest that he hasn’t mastered English yet.
7. T-800 in ‘Terminator 2’
Has a liquid metal organism arrived from the future to assassinate you? Does it intend to prevent the human uprising against the machines that you will one day lead? If so, you’ll have to come with the T-800 if you want to live. Programmed with the sole task of protecting your video game-playing, motorcycle-riding rear end, this hulking machine can be taught to do other things as well. If prompted, he can: not kill any humans, spout ‘cool’ catch-phrases that no one in their right mind would ever use and understanding why you cry (though it is something he can never do).
In the near future, when Earth is covered in commercial waste and junk mail, the planet will no longer be able to support life. When that happens, you can employ the services of Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth class), a tiny robot designed to compact rubbish into cubes which he will then stack into towers. Pretty neat, huh?
And the best part is, all he needs to maintain himself over 700 years of service is the Sun (to recharge his batteries), his prized collection of cutlery and a single VHS copy of Hello, Dolly (which will have miraculously survived into the year 2810).
9. Bishop from Aliens
Okay, so humans didn’t have the greatest experience with earlier models of Weyland-Yutani’s artificial life forms. The company openly acknowledges that previous designs of their humanoid cyborgs did have a tendency to obey corporate orders without any due consideration to human life. But this time round, they’ve given him the kind, craggy face of 20th Century character actor Lance Henriksen. Bishop’s skills include operating vehicles, bleeding milk and playing five finger fillet upon request: