The real story behind robot who says he will keep people in zoo
The internet is abuzz about a robot who is saying that he will keep people in a zoo. So how “real” is this? What is the real story behind this robot and whose face is it wearing?
The story started when Chad Cohen, a correspondent for the PBS show Nova Science talked to the robot made in the image of a late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Chad asks the robot: “Do you think that robots will take over the world?”
That is when the robot replies:
“Jeez, dude. You all have the big questions cooking today. But you’re my friend, and I’ll remember my friends, and I’ll be good to you. So don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator, I’ll still be nice to you. I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for ol’ times sake.”
You can see the video here:
This begs the question:
Is it a real response or just a recorded one?
The short answer is: it’s somewhere in between but closer to a recorded, pre-programmed one.
You can actually get an idea of it from the video itself when Chad asks David Hanson, one of the creators of this robot ” So how much of that is coming from what you’ve programmed it to say?”
David responds “It’s a mix.Some of it’s coming from the knowledge from the web. Some is written.”
Whose face is the robot wearing?
Yes, we have all read that the robot is wearing a face of someone called Phillip K. Dick, a science fiction author. But who was he?
Philip wrote several books which you probably didn’t read but you have definitely seen some of his movies. His book “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” was turned into a cult movie “Blade Runner” with Harrison Ford. You probably also saw “The Minority Report” with Tom Cruise and “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the re-make of the movie with Colin Farrell.
Most science fiction fans agree that the work of Philip K. Dick also influenced the movie Matrix. You can see Philip in this video from 1977 where he says:
“In other words, it’s a common theme in my writing that a dark haired girl show up at the door of the protagonist and tells him that his world is delusional. That there is something false about it.”
And then later on:
“…we are living in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is when some variable is changed, and some alteration in our reality occurs.”
Here is the video:
Robot imitation Philip K. Dick can never be cheerful
It should be noted that Philip K. Dick was always a bit “different” to put it nicely. His sister died when they were both small children but here comes the plot twist. Philip kept on seeing her. Talking to her, sometimes also playing with her.
He knew that this is not the normal way of things. And this is what sparked off his novels. He realized that we as human beings are a result of our memories. Our memories literally form our personality. So, what happens if someone manipulates our memories and experiences of life?
And if you think about his novels and the movies they inspired, they all have the same theme. In “Blade Runner” the artificial human Rachel doesn’t realize that she is artificial because she has someone else’s memories. In “Total Recall” protagonist has his memories altered by the machine and so forth.
These altered memories are never sunny and happy in any of the Philip’s novels. Now that you know a thing or two about Philip K. Dick you see why it stands to reason that the robot made in his image will never give sunny, happy answers. It’s just programmed that way.