Saturday, May 14, 2011

Twilight Zone Robotics

taken from Wikipedia
Ah, I rediscovered the joy of watching The Twilight Zone, perfect to conclude a long evening shift at the hotel!

"Steel" is, in my humble opinion, not the best episode, but it is interesting: the story, written in 1963, is about "the future year of 1974" (*snigger*) and the interesting part is how they predict the evolution in robotics by that time.

The small desk chair wheels that keep on falling off from under the android's feet and the "blinkenlights" at his back are just plain hilarious, seen through the eyes of someone born decades after the show.

Still, I find the program hugely progressive for the sixties and the intended "entertainment that makes you feel uneasy without being horror" atmosphere of the program is still not lost. It is of course highly complicated to give a prediction of the future that comes even close to the truth (*), making it interesting to compare the old anticipations with the current reality. Think about the android marathon, the ethics discussed in Plug & Pray and the smashing Jeopardy victory of IBM's Watson.

The Twilight Zone is twenty minutes of pure progressive old school creativity in black and white. I have many favourites, but "Time Enough At Last" seems like the most recognisable one to me as it was parodied in The Simpsons some eons back, although I can't find a reference for that one. If my memory serves me correct, it was the pimple-faced guy being a post man trying to read a letter, any help?

(*) remember Space: 1999 ? Or 2001, A Space Oddesey ?
Ah, the future seen through the eyes of the past, where did the time go?

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