The Terminator. Westworld. Alien. Blade Runner. These franchises and others come to mind when hearing all of the recent talk in the news about sex robots.
And lets’s face it, there’s something disturbing about sex robots. It’s not because of the customers interviewed who talk about how they have a deeper relationship with their robot than they’ve had with real women (okay, that is a little disturbing), but rather because of what it suggests for the future. Have we learned nothing from Hollywood, people?
There is a long history on screen of technology run amuck. Of robots that we’ve created to do our bidding—a form of mechanical slavery, if you will —that ultimately ends up turning the tables on us. There are the replicants from Blade Runner, the fear of which has resulted in their return to Earth from assignments in space being ruled illegal; the Hosts of Westworld, who are forced to indulge in every depraved fantasy of those rich enough to afford their services, and are starting to recognize that there could be more to their existence; and the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica, who have rebelled and all but exterminated their former human masters.
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Artificial Intelligence—A.I.—carrying out its own agenda is a big one for films and TV shows. There’s the Hal 9000 computer of 2001: A Space Odyssey or the android Ash in the original Alien, who will not allow their missions to be interfered with by inferior humans; or others that have trapped those humans in alternate realities, some of which they’re aware of (the Grid in Tron) and others which they’re not (The Matrix). And the greatest sin of all, handing control of our lives to the machine and expecting it to somehow turn out okay, i.e. Skynet in the Terminator films or the ultimate computer that takes over the world, Colossus: The Forbin Project.
And, finally, there’s technology that is set loose in the world that comes back to bite us in the ass, from Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s space probe V’ger, to the computer game nearly turned World War III of Wargames.
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Each of the above presents a frightening picture of what happens when technology is left unchecked; when common sense is put on hold and we give in to the allure of that tech. So if a sex robot shows up at your door, after a week or two you kick her ass out of there. Your future—as suggested by the following films and TV shows—will be better for it.
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Usually when you come across someone named Hal, they’re a pretty nice guy. Hal 9000, the computer running the Discovery spacecraft, is not one of those Hals. En route to Jupiter, astronauts Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) are on an exploratory mission. But what they don’t know, and Hal does, is that the mission is directly tied to a giant black monolith discovered on the surface of the moon that has sent a signal out to a monolith in orbit of Jupiter. Believing their mission to be jeopardized by the faulty humans, the AI begins efforts to kill them. Poole is lost, but Bowman manages to shut down Hal’s systems shortly before embarking on a journey within the monolith that, to this day, you need to be completely stoned to fully understand. Director Stanley Kubrick at his enigmatic best. And Hal is oh-so-chilling thanks to the utterly calm vocal performance of Douglas Rain, who got to reprise the role in 1984’s sequel, 2010.
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