Wednesday, March 18, 2009

HRP-4C



I’ve finally found the girl for me—the lovely HRP-4C
If only I could make her see how very happy we could be!

Her slightly larger manga eyes can blink, or widen with surprise,
Or narrow with the thought of lies, or sadden, though she never cries.

She’s pure perfection, every part, a walking, talking work of art
Her fashion sense is sharp and smart, but oh! Alas, she has no heart.

Now, some would choose to bid adieu to her for this, I hear it’s true;
There’s reason here to say we’re through, except that I know what to do—

Although they tell me I’m bizarre, I’ll grow a heart inside this jar
And she will be my shining star, with none so happy as we are!





Karel Capek introduced the term Robot in 1921. Capek's robots were humanoid,
She's a robot; she doesn't look real,
But she still has a certain appeal:
She has silicon eyes
And molybdenum thighs
And an ass made of chromium steel. *
but the vast majority of modern robots are not. My favorite comments on this new HRP-4C, though, remember those days. At Technovelgy.com, we are reminded of two men named Fritz-- Fritz Leiber, who wrote The Mechanical Bride in 1954:
"Mr. Shalk supplies the finest mannequins in the world. Streamlined, smooth-working, absolutely noiseless, breath-takingly realistic. Each one is powered by thirty-seven midget electric motors, all completely noiseless, and is controlled by instructions, recorded on magnetic tape, which are triggered off by the sound of your voice and no one else's. There is a built-in microphone that hears everything you say, and an electric brain that selects a suitable answer. The de luxe model is built to your specifications, has fifty different facial expressions, sings two hundred love songs, and can carry on a thousand fascinating conversations... But she has one serious defect. They all do.

"What's that?"

"They have no heart."


And Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metropolis:.
Strikingly similar to HRP-4C, don't you think?

2 comments:

Podblack said...

Huh. Despite being a big fan of Susan Calvin in the Issac Asimov 'Robot' series as a young woman... I think this is the only 'robot' that amuses me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ-jv8g1YVI

Funny, how Asimov thought people would go for a male robot first, when designing them. The first female robot ('Feminine Intuition' was the short story) was quite well into the series, after Calvin herself had retired.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminine_Intuition

DSK Samways said...

Where's Rick Deckard when you need him? Oh, wait, he was one of them wasn't he? Or was he?