Giant robot baby dear God why?

I had to, no, literally had to interrupt Bad Girls Week to talk about this.

A giant robot baby.

For the love of all things holy, why would you do this? I mean, I know it’s art or whatever, but there are people starving in the world, you know, folks?

Anyway, io9 reports that Shanghai’s Expo 2010 will feature a giant robot baby. Here it is. Sorry, it’s pretty scary. I mean, can you imagine the drool? Can you imagine the diapers?

News flash

Lordy, I was going to make a corpse-eating robot joke here. I did a post about the corpse-eating robot a while back. Check it here.

But I went back and tried to link to the original news story only to find it’s been deleted and replaced with this one saying the corpse-eating robot is a vegetarian. Someone really wanted that story edited. Hmm. Wonder who?

Guess it serves me right for linking to Fox News.

Monster Made of Clay, Part 2

A long-time reader asks “Does a golem need to be made out of clay, or can other materials be used?”

For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to interpret the word “clay” to mean clay, mud, dirt, and all other forms of earth. Maybe that’s not in keeping with the spirit of the question, but you’ll have to forgive me. To interpret the question with clay, mud, dirt, and earth being separate things, I would have to go back to primary sources and that would mean learning Hebrew.

I love you guys, but that’s a lot to ask.

With this question a little bit revised, the answer becomes simple. And complicated.

Yes, the true golem is made out of clay.

Let me tell you why. It’s a straight parallel with the Genesis Creation story. As God made Man out of clay, so Man can make the Golem out of clay. But it also contrast with God’s creation. God can breathe on clay and give it a soul. Man can never do that. When Man ‘breathes’ on clay, animating it using words, all Man with his limited powers makes is a thing that moves around, but doesn’t live. So Man becomes a creator, but not THE Creator.

Kinda nifty, huh?

Now here comes the complicated part of the question. Does a golem have to be made from clay?

No. Philosophically speaking.

See, the guy who wrote the first robot story in 1921 (R.U.R. = Rossum’s Universal Robots), a Polish guy named Karel Capek, denied basing his robots on the story of the golem. But Capek grew up in Prague, and almost certainly would have been familiar with the story of the Prague Golem when he created his tale of mechanical creatures with no souls who did work at the bidding of their masters. If you look at his plot, there are some real similarities–I mentioned in the last post that most golem stories have a hubris theme… well so does R.U.R.

Robots, like golems, are non-living entities that have no souls and do not live. They can’t decide things for themselves. They perform tasks specifically assigned to them. Sound familiar?

So are robots golems? Not traditionally, but they might just be the Golem’s spiritual descendants.

Breaking demonic news: Corpse-eating robot in development (No, I’m not making this up)

The EATR robot snacks on corpses.

The EATR snacks on corpses. Robot or ghoul?

Yesterday, Fox News reported that Robotic Technology Inc, a company out of Maryland, is developing a battlefield robot that fuels itself by ‘eating’ organic matter. Like insects. Grass. AND THE DEAD.

People are calling it the zombie robot, but that is totally wrong. As dedicated DotW readers will know, undead (undead, robotic, whatever) creatures that consume corpses fall under the category of ‘ghoul.’ Not zombie. Ghoul.

Let’s get it right, people.

For now the platform is experimental, but things the company is thinking of developing include some kind of gun platform. So, basically, we’re creating something that eats corpses, then giving it the ability to turn us all into corpses. It’s fully automatic, and can roam for months at a time.

Okay, so besides being completely offensive to religious cultures that require proper burial procedures for their dead to enter the afterlife, is this a good idea? How does a robot distinguish between living and dead organic matter? Should we develop Grey Goo to help us fight this threat? Would vampire robots be a better plan, and if so, what would their capes look like?

Your thoughts, please, DoTW readers…