Saturday, March 1, 2014

Almost Human


by Stormie Kent

The sci-fi writer in me wants to know where all the androids are hiding. No, not your smart phones. I mean the robots that look like humans. When I began to research what was happening in the scientific field of robots, I discovered they call them humanoid robots now. Humanoid robots are being built. Bits and pieces of these robots help in factories and labs, making human jobs less dangerous and even more precise.

Apparently, last year Googlebought eight robotics companies. One of those was Meka Robotics. Their humanoid robot heads are being designed to appear human and even show expression. Head over to YouTube and check out MekaRoboticsVideos, especially the S2 Humanoid Head.

At this stage, all the humanoid robots still look more like the Jetson’s cook than the near human androids from movies and t.v. shows like, Almost Human. I still have hope though.

I haven’t incorporated any humanoid robots into my stories. I am deeply in the “be careful how smart you allow your technology to become” camp. (Think I, Robot.) Maybe I’ll write a short and the robot can be the villain.

Would you believe a robot in a story as the protagonist or antagonist? How “humanoid” could they be before it became weird or frankly, scary? I would love to hear what you think about this idea.




Tina Donahue said...

Having a robot as the protagonist would be a fun idea. Wasn't AI about that? The little kid was a robot. Could be I'm thinking of another film.

Stormie Kent said...

You're right, Tina. I could probably think of a few others. In I, Robot the antagonist is artificial intelligence. I think it would be fun.

Fiona McGier said...

I have a free short story on my website that deals with androids that look so close to human that you need to learn what to look for to tell them apart. I think the idea is tantalizing, but I fear it would be a way for some men to avoid having to deal with real women, who they find too frightening. So like on the show Buffy, they'd build a "Buffy-bot" to satisfy themselves with,l knowing she'd have no intrinsic desires of her own they might not feel like satisfying. Sad, really.

Stormie Kent said...

Hi Fiona,
I think some women might find a male bot tempting as well. I can see the plot line already.