Ridiculously Human Robots
Robots in television — particularly comedic television — are usually human-like in ways that very few sane programmers would deem useful. It can be something as simple as being philosophical (wanting to understand human emotion, wondering if they have a soul
, etc.), but can extend to such things as robot social cliques, robot food, robot entertainment, robot religion, and even robot sex. It doesn't matter if it makes no sense in the context of a mechanical servant, or even if it's truly undesirable, the designers have put it in there
for some twisted reason
. This will often take the form of having a robot that looks exactly
like a human.
The degree to which this is actually "ridiculous" varies depending on the setting. In some cases they get a free pass — it may be that an intelligence, artificial or not, needs
to be vaguely human-like in its basic outlines, with emotions, interests, motivations, et cetera simply to be functional for certain tasks, such as those requiring a great deal of long-term autonomy. On the other hand, perhaps humans prefer Sexbots not to behave like automated teller machines
. Or it may be, if human intelligence itself is merely an evolved set of functions held together in an evolved psychological architecture, that any society with sufficiently ubiquitous and flexible automation will necessarily have the means to produce something human-like
. Whatever serves the needs of the well-reasoned plot or setting. In these cases, Ridiculously Human Robots
make sense. Also, a few illogical design choices are a small price to pay for keeping robotic characters out of the Uncanny Valley
. However, it's rare that a series explicitly spells this out, and often, these human-like AIs
are put right up next to similar, yet emotionless equivalents
that function perfectly.
A corollary to this is that robots are comfortable in their own oddball version of society, and consider human conventions bizarre and silly. You'd think they would be programmed to be familiar with human behavior, and find it perfectly normal. Robots from places without humans, who are exempt from this complaint, curiously tend to adapt to human customs faster.
Tin Can Robots
cannot by definition have a Ridiculously Human Appearance like some examples, but may fit on the "Ridiculously Human Personality" part of the equation.
For an alternative, see Pick Your Human Half
. Interestingly, there will usually be at least one character (or society in general) who insists it's "Just a Machine
See also Instant A.I., Just Add Water
, Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids
, and Robot Girl
. Compare and contrast with Artificial Human
, Robot Me
, or Mechanical Lifeforms
. The more human-like ones are sometimes an Eating Machine
and may indulge in Robo Romance
. May become subject to a Robotic Reveal
if the robot looks ridiculously human enough to pass as one. Expect the reveal to have some squick
if it's done via means like an Unusual User Interface
. Contrast Deceptively Human Robots
, for when the apparent humanity is only skin deep. Also contrast Mechanical Monster
, where it is completely inhuman in both psychology and appearance. The inverse on nearly every level of Cybernetics Will Eat Your Soul
. Contrast Forgot He Was a Robot
and Starfish Robots
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- From Metal Heart Sia and the other EA units. They think they are the characters from the game and don't even know that they themselves are robots.
- Chevrolet from 3 Level Combination.
- Janelle Monae's Metropolis is based around an android named Cindi Mayweather who falls in love with a human.
- KILROY of The Protomen is so human-like you'd swear he was wearing a mask.
- Doctor Steel's robot band. Which malfunction on his Propaganda DVD, but finally work in his video for "Childhood Don't A-Go-Go". At least in miniature...
- Vocaloid is a series of computer programs meant to imitate human voices, and the general consensus is that in-universe they qualify as these.
- Jimmy The Robot of The Aquabats! He can express emotions, like love and snarkiness, and is a talented keyboardist.
- The bots of Steam Powered Giraffe have distinct personalities, and are shaped and sound very much like humans. The latter point is justified, since the "bots" are played by humans in heavy makeup.
- Mentioned in the Monstercat Song "Toothless Hawkins and his Robot Jazz Band"
- All Vocaloids are such excellent examples of this, and it doesn't help that their personality varies with their song writers.
- Utauloids can go even farther with this, not just with design and personality, but with voice quality, since the Utau program uses recorded-voice wav files. And thanks to VCVnote voicebanks, a song by an Utauloid can sometimes sound completely indistinguishable from a human singer. Notably on this issue, Teto's voicebank has been known for sounding genuinely robotic, yet she also has a VCV voicebank which some people prefer.
- Warforged in Dungeons & Dragons's Eberron setting apply, though they're half-robot-half-golem... thingies. They were originally created to be warriors, and unexpectedly developed the capacity for emotion and self-awareness.
- Wave Form Androids, more commonly known as Wafans. Oddly, the rulebook explicitly states that they're people, not robots... before then going on to explain the artificial objects that form the core of their intellectual abilities.
- Granted, they're apparently "not made in factories." Whatever that means.
- Unfleshed in Promethean: The Created are machines given sentience and will by the Divine Fire, Azoth. As Azoth is born from human will and desire, no matter the form of the machine, it is sculpted into a human form when the Azoth takes hold. Among the sample Unfleshed is a mass of nanotechnology (which calls itself "Legion") and a gun-carrier SUV, both of which were reshaped into human simulacrums on being brought to life.
- Project Aiko. *shudder*
- Japan's supermodel robot. It's so realistic it's even more creepy than Aiko.
- While this contraption may not look human at all, it does something you certainly didn't expect any machine to be capable of. note
- Octavia is a Navy project to make a robot with accurate facial expressions. Its planned use is for rescue robots, which will be able to use this ability to communicate faster and more accurately with frightened humans.
- A certain philosophical current on The Singularity states that any AI, potentially capable of self-improvement, that wasn't also ridiculously human (or even better, super-humane) in terms of morality and empathy would be a lot more dangerous than the whole stock of nuclear weapons on planet Earth. It makes sense... it's the difference between SkyNet and the Minds.
- Robotics Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro made an eerily realistic robot of himself that he can control remotely, using a camera to match the robot's facial expressions to his own.