Back in 2013 FOX TV premiered a little known science fiction show about robotic police officers that has since become the modern day equivalent to Firefly. It is fair to say that Almost Human was ahead of its time and perhaps debuted on the wrong channel too.
Since then cable TV channels like HBO and AMC have taken their own creative spins on the future of Artificial Intelligence and robotic rights. Two topics that the future is smacking right into and fast.
While Fox’s bad executive decisions missed the mark and they chose not to wonder if Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, AMC and BBC pioneered in their wake. Humans debuted two years later in a joint international effort that paid off big time! It would eventually become channel 4’s most watched television series to date and bring BBC America into AMC’s lucrative fold.
Since airing AMC’s pioneering series about Robotic Rights and the beginnings of Robotic consciousness, HBO jumped into the mix, with their own albeit much darker take on things with the mindfuck maze that is WestWorld. In the past I have described Westworld as a show about humans taking robots throwing them into a park and doing everything imaginable to provoke them, or force them to wake up and take over.
For HBO Westworld was a ratings smash hit and the buzz on social media was comparable to Lost’s cult following. As Robots take over the small screen, and the terminator franchise dies a slow death. One can’t help but notice the quality of these robot TV shows. They not only make me question, what’s next for TV, but also the future of politics in robots!
The two shows each focus on different aspects of the human use for Robots. In Humans, Robots are more like tools to be used for remedial tasks. This interferes with real life as well, because people today are also getting their jobs taken away by robots, who could do the job better and safer. In Westworld robots are more like punching bags for the rich. Rich people pay to go to a park and they get to outlive realistic fantasies with no worries! So goes the slogan anyway. Each show touches upon the unique ways that humanoid robots could affect our lives and how certain things could arise.
With these two shows we are witnessing a new type of show emerge, but risks are there. If there are more Robotic shows how could they be any different from Humans and Westworld? Do we need to have a show about Robots always rising up and wanting to fight us? Yet while Humans touches more upon the great utopia that early 1950s science fiction writers, dreamed Robots could promise us, all is not perfect. For Westworld, it’s not even clear what planet the robotic park takes place on!
Even other shows are getting in on the Robot craze with their own sub-plots. Marvels Agents of Shield has got a crazy scientist building exact Robotic copies of Shield team members and are using them to do his dirty work and while Mr. Robot’s namesake isn’t exactly in the series, it ushers in the new era of good quality robotic programming. Could Almost Human come back and thrive in this climate?