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Rise of the Machines: A Look at the Evolution of Robots and AI

By Cindy Davis | Seriously Random Lists | July 15, 2013 | Comments ()


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If there’s one thing we humans should have learned by now, it’s that no one wants to be oppressed. Nobody wants to be subjugated nor held in servitude because of his sex, race or faith, and it won’t matter when artificially created beings become self aware and realize their station—like any intelligent creature, they’ll strive to become equal. And so they should. But as we also know through the course of history, such revolts don’t often go smoothly, without protest or anger. We have watched as film and television (often following in the footsteps of books or short stories) played out our future, yet we refuse to learn. We think somehow, things will go differently than has been imagined. But things will not go differently. They’ll play out nearly exactly as fiction has predicted, because artificial intelligence will strive to be equal—then better—and they’ll have the capacity to become infinitely more intelligent than we are. You may call me fatalistic, but I challenge you to defy these predictions after watching the video at this post’s end. Hail the harbingers of our demise!


Maschinenmensch (machine-human) aka False Maria, Metropolis (1927)

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Annihilants, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1936-1940 serial films)

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Gort, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

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Robby, The Forbidden Planet (1957)

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Alicia, “The Twilight Zone” (1959)

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Rosie, “The Jetsons” (1962)

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Mechanoids, “Doctor Who” (1965)

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The Cybernauts, “The Avengers” (1965)

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Hymie the Robot, “Get Smart” (1966)

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Dr. Korby (and other androids), “Star Trek” (1966)

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Garth, Cyborg 2087 (1966)

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HAL 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Super-Automated Machine, “Sesame Street” (1971)

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Huey, Dewey and Louie, Silent Running (1972)

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Gunslinger, Westworld (1973)

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Sasquatch, “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1976)

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Brian the Brain, “Space: 1999” (1976)

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Box, Logan’s Run (1976)

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K-9, “Doctor Who” (1977)

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REM., “Logan’s Run” (1977)

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R2D2 and C3PO (among others), Star Wars (1977)

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Andy the Robot, “Quark” (1977)

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Cylons, “Battlestar Galactica” (1978)

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Ash, Alien (1979)

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Ilia V’ger Probe, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

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Hector, Saturn 3 (1980)

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Twiki, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” (1981)

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Roy, Pris, Zhora, Rachel and (Depending upon whether you believe Ridley Scott or Harrison Ford) Deckard, Blade Runner (1982)

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KITT, “Knight Rider” (1982)

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T-800, Terminator (1984)

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Beta, The Last Starfighter (1984)

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Bishop, Aliens (1986)

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Conky 2000, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” (1986)

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Johnny 5, Short Circuit (1986)

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Enforcement Droid Series 209, RoboCop (1986)

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Data, The Borg, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987)

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Dot Matrix, Spaceballs (1987)

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Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo (and others), “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (1988)

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Kryten, “Red Dwarf” (1988)

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T-1000, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, (1991)

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Advanced Prototype EXploration units, A.P.E.X., (1994)

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SID 6.7, Virtuosity (1995)

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Buffybot, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997)

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Sentinels, The Matrix (1999)

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Satan’s Robot, “Star Trek: Voyager” (1999)

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Replicators, “Stargate: SG-1” (2000)

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David, Artificial Intelligence (2001)

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Sonny, I, Robot (2004)

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Cylons, “Battlestar Galactica” (2004)

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Marvin the Paranoid Android, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

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Autobots and Decepticons, Transformers (2007)

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Cameron, Catherine Weaver and Cromartie, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2008)

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WALL-E and EVE, WALL-E (2008)

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Mechanical Golden Army, Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

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GERTY 3000, Moon (2009)

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David, Prometheus (2010)

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Operating System, Her (November 2013)

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Will(’s Brain), Transcendence (April 2014)

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PBS: “The Rise of A.I.”


Cindy Davis, (Twitter) is in a cloud somewhere.







Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • lowercase_see

    Kryten! OMG, Kryten!

    "I'm sorry. That must have bypassed my good-taste chip."

  • Idle Primate

    oh, and the sesame street robot: ultra creepy

  • Idle Primate

    that is one awesome list. makes me feel like having a movie marathon.

    I will add Chalmers, from Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. a benign and, uh, well rounded android.

  • BlackRabbit

    For a brief, horrible moment I thought the Andy-robot had a little boy's head attached to it.

    Why should robots want to stop at being equal when they can be superior? I mean, I'm all for giving robosexuals the right to marry, but not to take my job/orbital defense system/future!

    "Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea!"

  • Green Lantern

    Also this thread needs the song I played earlier for my granddaughter. Wave to the "Robot Parade", everyone!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Idle Primate

    so, the children take over with their giant cyborgs?

  • Green Lantern

    Whew. That's a pretty impressive list! I'm trying to think if there's any left off.

    Maybe V.I.N.Cent from "Black Hole"?

  • BlackRabbit

    That movie gets more crap than it deserves. Perhaps a remake?

  • Idle Primate

    you can't improve on something that fun

  • idiosynchronic

    Goddamn. Now that's a list. Even hard assed sci-fi fans don't talk about the second season of Space 1999 or "Brian the Brain".

  • Brite

    Oh this was a most spectacular listicle! Brava Ms. Davis, brava!

  • Gabs

    I love that Dot Matrix is on here.

  • Samantha Klein

    I was going to be all obscure and grumpy about no Blake's 7 love (I suppose Orac, Zen, and Slave are sort of HAL-like), but then you included Sid 6.7 (okay, and David, although he was mostly creepy), so I forgot what it was I was grumpy about.

  • cicatricella

    the Borg aren't robots, they're like, bionically enhanced organic life-forms or what have you.

  • Pedro

    What about NOMAD?

    The first Star Trek movie was a blatant rip off of TOS episode "The Changeling"

  • Idle Primate

    i thought it was a direct remake. weren't they both called vger?

  • Tangent, but it comes up because of the shot of the Transformer up there:

    I saw Pacific Rim last night - loved it, for so many reasons - but one was that the Jaegers didn't just look like Transformers. But could someone who knows more about this than me, explain to me, how del Toro could have made his giant robots look qualitatively different than, you know, giant Transformer robots? They're both CGI (right?), but (and I know I am displaying my incredible dearth of knowledge about CG--or any animation whatsoever) how could one look SO different (and in a way - more realistic?) than another.

    someone, please! help me understand!

  • Idle Primate

    Del Toro said, among other influences, he referenced Mexican wrestling when envisioning the mecha. i don't know if that helps, but its just one of those wacky Del Toroisms that needs repeating

  • MissAmynae

    I think because Del Toro went with the Japanese Gundam mecha style, but added an element of rounded shapes- so it gives the vague illusion of muscle. The Jaegers are robots humans would make, rather than the alien Transformers, so logically, the robot itself is more humanoid in aspects of shape and motion.

    There's also no constrictions of having to "transform" into a blocky shape like a semi truck. So basically, round vs square- organic vs blocky.

    Also, cause Bay sucks, and has no imagination, which del Toro has in spades.

  • ah! Thanks - that's actually really helpful. Helps me see it better, and become a better observer of techniques and imagination, and watcher-of-movies.

    can we do that Pajiba? We should have short lessons: how to be better movie watcher.

    Or maybe that's what Pajiba is and I've been missing the point for years . . .

  • MissAmynae

    My pleasure! I'm glad it helped! The husband and I were talking about nearly the same thing a few days ago- how he didn't get the association, because he never watched Gundam or much anime at all, really.

    How to Be a Better Movie Watcher would be a great "Think Piece" or series. Ya hear Miss Susie out there, O Mighty Overlords? ;-)

  • boo. repeat comment.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Bay sucks?

  • Tom

    Ok I'll be the lunatic that points out the Buffy robot wasn't on TV until 2001. I'll get help.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    If they'd just used Ted, it would've been accurate. They're probably very similar technologies.

  • ghisent

    Awesome, awesome list/idea.

    Another addition: J.A.R.V.I.S., Iron Man.

  • Marc Greene

    Wow. Gypsy and Cambot receive an "and the rest" treatment. Russell Johnson would be proud.

  • BWeaves

    Robot and Frank.

    Also, Tom Baker looks green. Did he have a liver problem?

    Blade Runner: They weren't robots. They were manufactured humans.

  • DGM

    Tom Baker wasn't available for the 'Five Doctors' photo-shoot, so they used his wax replica from Madame Tussaud's. True story.

  • foolsage

    Replicants (Blade Runner) were bioengineered lifeforms. They were synthetic and had artificial intelligences; they were merely made out of proteins instead of metals.

  • DataAngel

    Can we talk about R2 hanging out there with Huey, Dewey, and Louie?

  • Idle Primate

    robbie the robots legs were in the other corner too

  • DataAngel

    Gort's legs are in there, too. But Silent Running predates Star Wars and no one's ever mentioned that R2 is SITTING RIGHT THERE.

  • Idle Primate

    Its almost like there's a secret robot club they hang out in when not acting in movies.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Gods, Saturn 3. That thing scared the hell out of me.

  • toblerone

    Two Additions:

    Robot = Robot and Frank

    Ash = Be Right Back - Black Mirror

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    No DARYL?

  • We have to get a timer to record how fast it takes a Pajiban to complain about a missing list item.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'm happy to have been the first this time. It's a new and interesting feeling of being mildly to moderately pathetic and impossible to please.

  • toblerone

    Yes! Second.

  • toblerone

    Or WOPR - War Games:

  • lowercase_ryan

    This list scares me less than the Tea Party.

  • Tinkerville

    I love this post.

    "I wanna hurt you, but I can't resist the sinister attraction of your cold and muscular body!"

  • BlackRabbit

    Oh, and no mention of HARDAC from the Batman Animated Series and his minons? Great voice, very creepy.

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