The Rise of the Robots

I feel I’ve had a glimpse of the future* the past couple of days. I started today taking part in an experiment at Plymouth University‘s Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems. There are always plenty of PhD students who need people to take part in experiments for their thesis, and you get paid £8 an hour to participate! This follows on from a film I re-watched for about the fifth time last night, Pixar‘s Wall-E.

Wall-E-and Eve

Wall-E (left) and EVE (right)

For my money, it’s one of the best films of the last decade, if not ever. The two main characters are robots**, Wall-E and EVE, who say about two words between them in the whole film. Doesn’t sound very promising, does it? Well, actually it’s actually a really touching love story – I got more emotionally invested in the relationship of the CGI robots than in most of those portrayed by flesh-and-blood actors with the whole gamut of the English language at their disposal. To pull that off is truly great art. And surely it doesn’t hurt that Wall-E is a Mini-Me of one of my childhood icons, Short Circuit‘s Johnny 5. . * The link talks about the predictions made by science fiction author Isaac Asimov, whose works will well reward a reading. A must-read is the Foundation trilogy, and his I, Robot collection of stories. ** The word robot comes from the Czech word ‘robotnik’, meaning forced worker or serf. Which happens to be the name of another childhood icon of mine: Sonic the Hedgehog‘s nemesis, Dr. Robotnik.

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