Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One More Robot's Top 50 Robots 40-31

40. Teddy
As seen in: A.I: Artificial Intelligence

Of all the robots A.I: Artificial Intelligence has to offer, Teddy is without a doubt the most impressive and intimidating. From the first introduction to Teddy it is made crystal clear that, despite his cuddly and slightly evil appearance, he is not a toy. He takes in the role of David’s friend and guardian, often handing out useful advice such as “[Don’t eat spinach] You will break.” In complete contrast to the humans in David’s life, Teddy displays a steadfastness and determination to ensure his well being. (There’s a moral lesson there, somewhere, if you care to pursue it.) His dedication to the mission at hand, find the Blue Fairy who will transform David into a real boy, is truly remarkable considering he has no ties to the child other than he loves him with all his little robot heart. --Niamh King

39. Data
As seen in: Star Trek: The Next Generation

When Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired, fans of the original series were quick to notice similarities between the main cast and their 1960’s counterparts. Foremost among these was Data, Starfleet’s first android officer who seemed little more than a poor man’s Mr Spock. But Data soon evolved into something more than an emotionless, naive foil to the show’s human characters. We watched him learn to become something more than a machine as the show-runners had him explore the human condition, the place of sentient life in the universe and even what defines a life form.

Data explored his desire for a family by creating a “child,” found his own long lost family (and evil twin) in Lore, and even crossed the machine-human sexual divide, declaring himself “fully functional” to Tasha Yar. An early defining moment came in the second season when Dr. Polaski pronounced his name as “Dahtah,” rather than “Daytah.” When quizzed on why he corrected her, Data replied: “One is my name. The other is not.” --David Bolger

38. Calculon
As seen in: Futureama

More than just a robot, more than just a soapstar, Calculon is Futureama creator Matt Groening’s commentary on the vapid egotism of Hollywood and the television industry. The sheer overbearing selfishness that bullies its way into a kind of irresistible charisma holds a mirror up to stars like Russell Crowe, Bill Shatner of course, and even Adam West in his heyday. But it’s more than just sneering at the rich and famous on Groening’s part; Calculon is, after all, a robot, created to act the way we made him. Calculon himself is completely oblivious to all of this, he just basks in the attention and doles out meaningless thanks to the little people: “the Academy, my agent and, of course, my operating system”. --Declan Aylward

37. The Buffy Bot
As seen in: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Appearing in season five and six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Buffybot is an identical robot replica of the real Buffy Summers. Programmed to be in love with the vampire Spike, she will do anything to please him.

A symptom of Spike’s obsession with the real Buffy, the Buffybot is an experiment that went wrong. Her speech and mannerisms were not perfected by the robot’s creators, so although she is chipper and permanently happy around Spike, she lacks tact and can be incredibly blunt in conversation. Happily, the Buffybot has her uses – other than as a talkative sex toy for Spike – and she is often used to distract the enemy or convince them that Buffy is in two places at once. --Brogen Hayes

36. Atomic Robo
As seen in: Atomic Robo

Atomic Robo is an old school robot in every sense of the word. From his bucket head design to World War Two antics, Brian Clevinger’s comic creations are action packed adventures right out of the pages of Commando…if Commando had an almost painfully postmodern awareness of itself.

Atomic Robo was built by Nikola Tesla, that bastion of unlikely inventions, and works with the Action Scientists of Tesladyne Industries to keep the world safe from weird war machines and supernatural threats, including walking Nazi tanks called Laufpanzers and one particularly annoying dinosaur with a PhD. There are elements of The Venture Brothers in Robo’s banter with the bad guys and the same trendy, tongue-in-cheek teasing of the stories our parents grew up with that probably makes the creator of The Hardy Boys want to rise from his grave and pelt the nearest Starbucks with buttered scones. --Declan Aylward

35. Zoe-R
As seen in: Caprica

Raised on the planet Caprica, Zoe Graystone was born into a wealthy family who believed her to be a normal teenager, but in reality she was a secret monotheist (the standard belief system in Caprica is polytheism) as well as a computer genius. When Zoe is killed in a suicide bombing carried out by religious extremists, her father downloads a digital recreation of into a robot and thus, Zoe-R – a robot with Zoe Graystone’s consciousness intact within it – is born.

Zoe-R believes that she is simply trying to escape to religious freedom on Gemenon –a planet that shares her religious beliefs– but as fans of Battlestar Galactica will know, Zoe-R was the first cylon consciousness and the precursor to the race of robots that started a Twelve Year War to be free of their human masters. And you thought your teenage years were hard! --Brogen Hayes

34. Cyberman
As seen in: Dr. Who

Of all the many weird and wonderful Dr. Who villains there are two that stand out; the Daleks and the Cybermen. But let’s face it, the Daleks, as scary as they are at times, look a bit like an army of rubbish bins. The Cybermen, on the other hand, are as hard as they come. They used to be human but have replaced so many parts of their anatomy over the years with mechanical replacements that now they are almost entirely machine, becoming in the process so cold and calculating that they have lost all respect for life, apart from their own. With so many Cyberman gracing Dr. Who, I can’t pick a favourite, they are all pretty bad ass. It still sends a shiver down my spine when I look at the ‘delete’ button on my keyboard. --Rachael Murphy

33. Sgt. Bash
As seen in: Robot Wars

One the ‘Housebots’ in the UK version of Robot Wars, Sgt. Bash sported a mean-looking camoflage paint job that made him an intimidating prospect on the robot battlefield. But despite looking the part, Bash was sadly inept when it came to a scrap. His main weapon was a flame thrower, which looked mightely impressive, but it wasn’t much unless his opponent was made out of polyester. As a secondary method of attack, the sergeant could deploy a circular saw. Designed to cut his victims deep, it was so slow at carving through steel that only robots who had stopped moving were in any real danger of it breaching their protective shell.

He may have been all mouth and no trousers, but what made Bash 10 times more likeable than his super-dangerous allies like Sir Killalot was his bad temper and feelings of self-righteousness. He’d often wander out of his designated zone, looking to pick on contestants and their stupid looking robots, probably because they offended him with their tacky designs. --Dean Van Nguyen

32. R Daneel Olivaw
As seen in: The work of Isaac Asimov

R Daneel Olivaw first appeared in writer Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, and eventually became his most commonly featured character. Built in the year 5020, he was the first “humaniform” robot and could only be distinguished from a human being when forced to follow Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, and even then could be mistaken as simply an overtly moral person. Based on his own philosophy, he sidestepped the First Law (which stated “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”) by creating the pre-emptive Zeroth Law; “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” He went on to become a Machiavellian minimalist, deciding which course would be safest for the human race, and calculating the least intrusive action he could take to set them on that path. Asimov later wrote that he put Olivaw into so many of his stories because his publishers and fans kept insisting on it. --David Bolger

31. Citroën C4
As seen in: That Citroën Ad

Yes, it’s the Citroën advert that no doubt caught your eye. The one when the car stands up and magnificently transforms into a giant dancing robot, performing a routine loosely based on the idea of a Transformers break dance developed by the agents from Justin Timberlake’s choreographer Marty Kudelka. And before you ask, this was before Michael Bay entered the picture. Apparently the car itself was well received, and is actually alive, em, with technology. The dance was accompanied by the extremely catchy tune ”Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)” by Les Rythmes Digitales. Be sure that it’s on your iPod. --Carol Killeen

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