Automatonophobia is the fear of anything that falsely represents having sentience, the autonomy to act out of human control. Typical humans, afraid of what they can’t control or manipulate.
A common theme of cyberculture, and a running trope in media & film, is the fear and demonisation of robots. More so are we fearing the robots, but what they are capable of, and will be capable of the farther technology advances. It’s seen time and time again, from Ultron to Ava, that we create these fictional stories of doomed robots and their flawed understanding of humanity (a reflection on our own humanity they tell us), will ultimately doom us.
Robotics have come a long way in a very short amount of time, and companies like Hanson Robotics have their eyes firmly set on creating lifelike, animatronic-androids designed solely for human interaction. To be more human than human. Sophia, is the real-life Ava of Ex Machina. Creator Dr David Hanson’s goal is to make robots “as conscious, creative and capable as any human” and eventually, to one day “be indistinguishable from humans”. He envisions a world of robots not dehumanising us, but reminding us of our humanity.
But more on that later, essentially, I wish to say, robots are not evil. They are not Ultron because they were programmed by Tony Stark’s (our) flaws and faults. They do not become Ava because their intelligence is so far more superior that it uses our own humanity against us. They are what we make them to be. Cyberculture, society, or whoever, needs something to fear that we think is threatening what makes us human.
What I will be talking about instead, is the path of robotics or humanbotics and where its heading. Starting with the history of robots and how we came to fear them, I wish to track through media the villain label we have come to attach to robots and offer a more friendlier take on robots and us. How many innocent robots have succumbed to human hands in films and television? How do the news and internet react to the human like animatronics? Do we really even need to fear the power of robots? Will they actually take over the world?
Nobody puts Robot in the corner.