I like robots. It has been rare, in my limited experience, to see them properly employed in science fiction.
Star Trek doesn’t have robots. They show up very occasionally but are certainly not a regular thing.
Star Wars has lots of robots. Here the droids seem to be slaves. C3PO express signs of fear. So either he is sapient and really experiencing that emotion – or he was put together by a madman who wanted to make a non-sapient being that expressed fear. Like programming a Google home to speak in a quivering voice.
I didn’t even think as I wrote that sentence that we know who built C3PO – I guess it just shows my dislike of that plot point. Let’s not let this turn into a prequel bash or we will be here for a long time. (…or at least long enough to watch the Redlettermedia reviews.)
The robots I want will be more like a robot vacuum cleaner than a Star Wars droid. They will of course be far more complex.
I have a robot vacuum cleaner but it always got stuck under the sofa. It can go in at the side but not the front so it was trapped until I could rescue it. This made it rather useless as I couldn’t just leave it to work while I was out. It would be nice if it could learn the room and so know where it could not go. Some models will even fall down the stairs as they can’t see a drop.
When JMS created Babylon 5 he said: ‘No…cute robots.’ In the like vain I don’t want cute robots either. The robots perform a job on the ship but they are not going to rise up and say: ‘Destroy all humans.’ Nor are they going to seek to be human. Don’t get me wrong Data and Kryten is nothing bad but it is not a story I am interested in telling.
The robots in my story are non-sapient and do what they are told. They are no more slaves than your microwave or weighing scales.
This inclusion of lots of robots is advantageous as it means I can have a very small crew. I can therefore develop all the characters and set myself apart from inevitable comparisons to Star Trek.
Incidentally I remember seeing some scales once that said: ‘Hello’ as you turned them on. Would you want them to have AI? Imagine stepping on scales and a little voice saying: ‘Oh God get off me you fat twit.’ – well for some that might be sufficient motivation.
NaNoWriMO is going well. By the time you read this I will have just come to the end of a week off work so hopefully I will be well ahead of the target. (Future me: ‘Nope’) My novel is a rambling mess but at least I am not running out of things to say. (Future me: ‘I really am – I just have to push through.’
I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.
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