Theirs Is the Glory: Robots in 2015

I have really high hopes for Chappie, the new Neil Blomkamp movie dropping in March next year. The trailers look great. Most importantly, the movie appears to be steering away from the increasingly tired “robot rebellion” cliche and focusing on actually creating a new robot character. I’ve heard some people making comparisons to Short Circuit, but I have a feeling that Chappie is going to be quite different – deeper, darker, and more emotional.

Check out the trailer below.

We’re actually in the middle of a little golden era for robot fiction.

IDW is doing phenomenal work elevating the Transformers franchise through their comic releases (especially Robert’s work on More than Meets the Eye bringing some of the strongest conceptual additions to the franchise since Furman’s original UK run). Archie Comics, likewise, is doing great work with their Mega Man line, creating a sharp, sophisticated and surprisingly depthful comic that legitimately works for all ages of readers. Automata, terrible as it was, came out this last year. Almost Human, though ultimately a failed project, did get robots and futurist concepts onto mainstream television for the early part of 2014.

And in the real world, Aldebaran is branching forward from Nao and Romeo to launch Pepper, its third generation social robot. Boston Dynamics has been dominating humanoid robotics research with Atlas and sending Big Dog into military operations. Google has spent 2014 buying robotics companies, including Team SCHAFT, whose robot completely crushed its competition at the DARPA Grand Challenge last year.

Of course, in 2015 we have the highly anticipated Age of Ultron dropping – the next installment of Marvel’s Avengers franchise is sure to be a gigantic smash – and Ultron is already showing great promise as a new fan-favorite villain just from the first teaser trailer. It’s going to be an interesting box-office battle between the childlike, innocent Chappie and the worldly, bitterly malevolent Ultron.  Then we have the next round of DARPADRC in June.

Now is the time to start getting really serious about robots. There’s never been a better time to jump in. Now is the time to dream about where we go next and imagine what we can still become, together with our mechanical friends.

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