Ep. 53: About A Robot

Ep. 53: About A Robot

Episode 53, ‘About A Robot’, Part III of Robots, Cyborgs, and Artificial Intelligence

This week, Dave and Steve conclude their conversation about thinking machines by looking at robotic heroes, good guys, and protagonists. Was Her really a game-changer in in the robo-film movement? What was the cultural significance of 2005’s Robots and how has it influence human-cyborg relations? How does Robot Chicken fit into all this? These questions (and more) go unanswered in this episode.

  • Intro Clip: One of the Transformers movies, but the editor can’t be bothered to figure out which one.
  • Dave doesn’t care about Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Geordi La Forge.
  • Robots aren’t aliens, Steve. They’re robots.
  • How easily we forget the trials and tribulations of Spike Witwicky.
  • “P-tags”, guys? Really?
  • Having watched Short Circuit, the editor feels like the film is closer to a bad improv show than a blockbuster movie.
  • Steve appears to have no idea how to pronounce “Neill Blomkamp”.
  • Is it strange to anyone else that Dave insists on using Data’s rank of Lieutenant commander every time he talks about him?
  • Dave calls WALL-E an “it”.
  • Steve and Dave have an absolutely essential conversation about the naming scheme of the Terminator franchise.
  • Dave says he’ll take Steve’s word on something and then immediately looks it up.
  • Seriously guys, just start a podcast about taking care of babies.
  • Dave tricks Steve into being poetic.
  • Remember back in the day when Dave and Steve cared if they were spoiling movies for you? Pepperidge Farm Remembers.
  • One host goes to great lengths not to say “my dick phase”.
  • Oh the casual droid racism of Han Solo.
  • Star Trek’s Data is really an example of machina ex machina.
  • Really, Steven? It doesn’t matter that Luke has his hand cut off and it is replaced with a cybernetic component so that, as Vader further tempts Luke to embrace the Dark Side of the Force, Luke has already physically lost some of his humanity only to have to replaced in a way that mirrors and draws our attention to the more drastic artificial replacements that Vader received after he joined the Dark Side so many years ago, serving as a painful reminder to Luke (and, by extension, the audience) that he cannot escape being his father’s son and that the struggle to simultaneously resist our nature and remain committed to the Light Side of the Force comes at a cost to one’s very humanity even if your mentors who brought you to the Light Side in the first place failed altogether to warn you about those costs — and, in some interpretations, lied to you about them altogether — despite the fact that those mentors knew full well the consequences of resolve when faced with the seduction of the Dark Side and, rather than facing them, they secluded themselves from the galaxy that they had sworn, as members of the Jedi Order, to protect? That doesn’t matter, Steven?!
  • And, no, Steven. You are not redeemed by pointing out that a blaster, while it may operate under similar principles as laser weapons, is not itself a laser.
  • Dave is probably talking about the Ship of Theseus.
  • Dave appreciates robotic abs.
  • Inspector Gadget really forces us to grapple with the fundamental questions of our time.
  • Steven really wants to talk about Robocop more.
  • Dave’s suggestion that a lightsaber represents “control of lasers” is somewhat forgivable, given that Young Anakin calls it a “laser sword” in The Phantom Menace — although it should be stated that Anakin is absolutely incorrect in his description.
  • Because all the cool kids are talking about it, Steven brings up Westworld.
  • Dave and Steven continue their trend of talking about Doctor Who without having seen any of it.
  • Is Steven talking about sewing?
  • Maybe The Jetsons was a bit racist?
  • Domo arigato for checking out The Style Guide‘s first series.