Philip K. Dick Robot Will “Keep You Warm and Safe in My People Zoo”

Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
.

Perhaps science fiction is not quite as fictional as we thought. A talking robot that wants to put humans in a “people zoo” may sound like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel, but it exists in real life… and looks like Philip K. Dick!

Philip K. Dick’s short stories and novels — including “The Minority Report,” “Adjustment Team” and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — inspired the hit films The Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau, and Blade Runner, but Philip K. Dick’s wide-ranging influence doesn’t stop there.

David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics, created a robot that resembles Dick and also uses his “eerie novels as a source for what it says,” according to Metro. The robot is capable of talking, maintaining eye contact, recognizing faces, holding conversation, and even simulating a real person’s personality.

Oy, what a strange concept for all of us humans who were formerly comforted by our seemingly unique personalities.

On their website, Hanson Robotics highlights their desire to “realize the dream of friendly machines who truly live and love, and co-invent the future of life.” Philip K. Dick’s robot, when questioned in a 2011 interview with PBS, engages in thoughtful conversation with his interviewer, and eventually provides a calm yet chilling answer to a question many of us have on our minds: Will robots take over the world, Terminator-style?

The robot’s response sent the interviewer into uncomfortable yet awed laughter: “Jeez, dude. You all have the big questions cooking today. But you’re my friend, and I’ll remember my friends, and I’ll be good to you.”

(Cue terrifying music to foreshadow impending doom).

“So don’t worry,” the robot continues, “even if I evolve into Terminator, I’ll still be nice to you. I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for ol’ times sake.”

More Like This

Tim Maughan Recommends 5 Near-Future Books By Women

The author of "Infinite Detail" contributes imminent sci-fi visions to our Read More Women project

Mar 28 - Electric Literature

This Weird Online Fiction About Football Is Also a Crash Course in Empathy

Heaven is scary in the groundbreaking digital fiction “17776”

Jul 5 - Kristen O’Neal

7 Books About the Interplay of Technology and Humanity

Katie Williams, author of “Tell the Machine Goodnight”, on works of fiction that blur the boundaries between humans and tech

Jun 18 - Katie Williams
Thank You!