I was invited to attend an advanced screening of Real Steel, the new DreamWorks Pictures movie starring Hugh Jackman in tiny t-shirts. It was full of action, music, muscles and robots. Lots of robots. It got me thinking about our robotic friends and what their role is in the pending apocalypse/future. Also, where can I buy one?
Here’s what I’ve found:
The vacuum of tomorrow, today – The iRobot Roomba 562 Pet Series Vacuum Cleaning Robot, or iR5-PSVCR for short, does your floor-cleaning for you. It was designed to keep the constant flow of pet hair, kitty litter, and assorted things that no longer resemble whatever they used to be, from floating around the floor. It happens.
The iRobot doesn’t talk or shoot lasers, but if you’re patient it will eventually bring a drink to you — I recommend a lid.
As an added bonus, said pets will probably be terrified of the iRobot.
And then I looked for a long time with no further results. Apparently our current selection of robots consists mainly of fancy vacuums, costumes, and children’s toys. Who knew? Also, Robot Chicken.
Seriously, I thought we’d be further along with the robots by now.
Music – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips isn’t technically a robot, but it is a damn fine album. Do You Realize is one of the best songs in the last however many years since the record came out.
Other favorite robot songs include Robot Parade by They Might Be Giants and Electronic Santa Claus by Blazer Force (Blazer Force is actually Bret McKenize of Flight of the Conchords fame. Bret also does original music for the upcoming movie The Muppets, and there’s a robot in the film! It’s all connected, people!)
And then there are the classics:
Games – Actually, the Rock’em, Sock’em Robots have made a bit of a comeback — the classic in this scenario might be the Gameboy.
Which leads me back to Real Steel (you like how I did that?). The movie is set in the near future (2020) and takes place in a world where things are more or less the same as they are today (everybody still loves Van Halen and Dr. Pepper), but the sweet science of boxing has been replaced with a much more violent sport: robot boxing.
You heard me.
The thing is, once the movie starts going it seems quite plausible. It’s all the violence without all the messy insurance issues. Don’t worry, parents, the violence is generally robot-on-robot, and while it’s a bit dark, the movie is fine for most kids over the age of 8-ish. Individual children may vary.
As far as machines taking over the world, I think we’ve got some wiggle room left, but at these prices the vacuums won’t last long.