Science fiction writers have used robotic technology as a theme for decades and there have been some truly exceptional ideas about how the future could look. Isaac Asimov was one of the first and most influential authors, and his I, Robot collection progressed ideas about how robots could one day be programmed with ethics.
Now, science seems to be catching up with fiction as robots and artificial intelligence are creeping into our everyday lives. Asimov’s vision has a strong chance of becoming a reality in the not-so-distant future.
Scientists Develop Robot that Flies Like Iron Man
Marvel’s Iron Man is certainly one of the more believable superheroes, as all his abilities are grounded in technology. Readers enjoy the character because they like to think it could be possible for real-world inventors to replicate some ideas from the comics. Now, that seems to be coming to realization. Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology recently came up with iRonCub, a humanoid robot that can fly.
This isn’t the first time that an idea born in fiction has come to life. One example that is becoming more widespread around the world is the idea of a crime-fighting robot, first introduced in Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop in 1987. PAL Robotics came up with the REEM, which can be found in many of Dubai’s tourist hotspots. It has a touchscreen interface people can use to report crimes.
Robots Have been Prevalent in Entertainment for Some Time
Entertainment was one of the first industries to embrace robotics and AI, and this technology is becoming more prevalent within it every year. Gaming, in particular, has seen some incredible advancements. Ever since Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in 1997, technology within gaming has been improving. For example, NPCs in open-world games are now more complex than ever, with inhabitants of rich landscapes notably undertaking full daily routines if you stop to observe them.
Robots are often the central theme in gaming as well. Robots and cyborgs appear frequently in a variety of genres and usually serve as an avatar for the player because their inherent design allows players to level up and upgrade their abilities. Beyond that, there’s no denying that basing your game on science fiction gives you the room to explore a variety of different environments and ideas. When you look at robot and mech games, they gravitate towards space and futuristic elements, setting you up to experience things that are alien to us now. You can see this with titles such as Assault Suits Valken, otherwise known as Cybernator. Because of the conflicts on Earth, some of humanity has moved to space and is dependent on robots and mechs to survive. Is this a hugely unique idea? Not exactly, but it’s a novel concept that lets creators be more expressive compared to saving the princess from another castle.
The idea being this allows the player to reach their potential. Many modern robot and mech games are popular for the amount of skill required, and the fact that players need to employ logic and tactics to win, although doesn’t mean robot games can’t tell a good story as some writers are keen to take advantage of these environments. They also make excellent multiplayer titles, as different robots try to outdo each other with their diverse attributes.
Will This Mean Less Robot Themed Fiction in the Future?
With technology about to catch up to many of the ideas first posited in science fiction, it begs the question of whether writers will continue to come up with stories about this topic. The most likely scenario is that writers will now align their ideas with the technology that looks most likely to come to fruition and create novels based on future possibilities with this tech.
It is exciting to think that robots are catching up with notions of science fiction stories over the years, but it is also a little scary. Some believe AI will become superior to humans in the future and will eventually subjugate us all. But that’s a worry for another day. For now, enjoy watching the iRonCub take flight.