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Ridiculously Human Robots

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He needs the alcohol for powering his batteries.
The cigars make him look cool.

"Whoever put her together made her a little too realistic... Who wants a weapon that sulks!?"
Junpei, Persona 3: The Answer

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, "thinks" (or at least processes input) and behaves 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. It may be that robots need to think like humans to understand human concepts such as ethics and morality, and thus refrain from — to quote Dwarf Fortress players — Fun activities such as trying to turn all matter in the Universe into paperclips. 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. It may be that emotions, desires, and curiosity are unavoidable side-effects of full sentience, or it may simply be that humans prefer Sexbots to not behave like automated teller machines. Whatever serves the needs of the well-reasoned plot or setting. In these cases, Ridiculously Human Robots make sense.

However, it's rare that a series explicitly spells this out, as, ultimately, most authors and worldbuilders adopt this trope because a few illogical design choices are a small price to pay for keeping robotic characters out of the creepy Uncanny Valley. In fact, these human-like AIs are often put right up next to similar, yet seemingly 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 and practices 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, Fembot, Ridiculously Alive Undead, 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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    Asian Animation 
  • The robots in Happy Heroes act more like humans than anything, to the point that the only thing really distinguishing them from the actual humans is 1. their appearance (sometimes), and 2. the fact that some robots, including the heroes themselves, like to drink oil.

    Fan Works 
  • A Dip In The Inkwell: The oneshot "Powering Down for the Night" focuses on one of Oona's Oonabots, who assisted her in an Odd Squad Training Video covering the repair of Oonabots. Said Oonabot gives herself the name "Ona", acts like a Mama Bear to Oscar's own twenty-five Oscarbots, and generally acts more human than the other two Oonabots.
  • In Marionettes, it turns out that Trixie turns out to be one, as does Lightning Dust and Diamond Tiara, something they were unaware of. Justified as they seem to have been created to imitate ponies on purpose.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash's Pokédex starts out with a very special personality, which only seems to grow more and more human as the story progresses.

  • Milan from My Beloved Mother, who serves as the robot mother of the Raised by Robots protagonist Sinbell, behaves way more like a human than a robot, including having emotions and compassion (at one point telling Sinbell "you came from mommy's tummy!" after Sinbell tries asking where he's from) despite her mechanical exterior. The Unrobotic Reveal at the end sheds some light behind her origin - it turns out Sinbell's biological mother, Aya, gave up her life to save him from a gas explosion, and before she dies, request for her mind to be transferred into an android, the prototype caretaker Milan.

  • 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.

  • Janelle Monáe'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 has a 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. It doesn't help that their personality varies with their song writers.
  • The popular Vocaloid song "Kokoro" is about a female android (portrayed by Kagamine Rin) who receives a "heart", allowing her to feel emotions. The undue stress it afflicts on her body causes her to tragically die by the end of the song.
  • Jimmy The Robot of The Aquabats! 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.

    New Media 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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. Some later material implied their supposed creators at least partly reverse-engineered them from relics found in Xen'drik, which given the history of that continent would allow several possibilities for why a constructed race capable of emotion and self-awareness would be desired.
  • The Androids in Pathfinder have human biological needs, benefit from Healing magic, and possess souls. They even age and die like humans, whereupon their soul is released to the afterlife and their body restored to the "factory default" with a new soul.
  • Starfinder, having the same setting but in the far future, has androids that are much the same and even have attained civil rights. However, these ones are effectively immortal unless and until they choose to release their soul and allow a new one into their body (essentially, reproducing).
  • Wave Form Androids in New Horizon, 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.

  • Karel Capek's play R.U.R. (which coined the very term "robot") probably created this trope. Ironically, the "robots" in the play are not truly robots in the way modern culture views them. Modern science would likely call them biological robots or Artificial Humans. That being said, the robots are mass-produced with every piece built and put together like a car on a factory line. At one point, the characters are discussing how human the robots are:
    Helena: Doctor, has Radius a soul?
    Dr. Gall: I don't know. He's got something nasty.

    Real Life 
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Ridiculously Human Robot, Absurdly Human Robots, Humanoid Robots, Extremely Human Robots