So until we can create meaningful relationships with artificially derived intelligences dressed in waistcoats and kravats, we’ve at least always got movies and television to satiate our desire for robots in our lives. I mean, I assume we all share that desire, at least. I’m not saying that, instead of counting sheep, you named famous robots to lull yourself to sleep like I did when I was a kid, but I am under the impression that it’s one of those self-evident truths that the U.S. Declaration of Independence is always declaring. You know, all men are created equal. All men have certain inalienable rights. All men dig robots. It’s that third one that always trips up those Middle Eastern countries.
Caramel Cream Pepsi Jazzed that there exists on this disgustingly biological mud ball of ours a shiny, metallic Robot Hall of Fame. In fact, I’m not even sure I’m up to the task of writing about such a cool topic. Still (and my apologies), in 2003, the School of Computer Science at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, established the Robot Hall of Fame to “honor” both fictional and actual robots, from the real-world Roomba to the much-cooler fake-world Lt. Cmdr. Data.
Unfortunately, the Robot Hall of Fame has more Robot and Fame than Hall to it, since it’s mostly virtual, with not much more than a sparse website and a few press releases staking claim to the idea. Hopefully, some rich and philanthropic visionary will one day eschew the boring tropes of human welfare and give the Robot Hall of Fame its own futuristic-looking building and its own generous budget to stuff that futuristic-looking building full of robots. If I ever get that wealthy, and if I have any money left over from purchasing the Elephant Man’s bones, then I’m on it.
You can find the physical portion of the Robot Hall of Fame just across the Ohio-Allegheny River junction from the downtown area of Pittsburgh in the four-floor Carnegie Science Museum. Like too many modern science centers, the building is more Beakman’s World than NOVA, being mostly filled with interactive children’s exhibits. They do have a pretty cool tourable submarine that is parked out behind it in the river and is included with the admission cost, though.
In a row of alcoves along one wall of this exhibit stood three-dimensional reproductions of some of science fiction’s most famous movie and television robots, all standing there exactly like I imagine robots do when awaiting orders from their master. With the exception of maybe Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), they all seemed more-or-less full-scale.
The facsimiles were extremely detailed, with everything from C-3PO’s bare midriff to HAL’s blue WordPerfect text screen and glowing orange eye painstakingly reproduced. They were also wired so that if the robot had light-up bits (such as Gort’s eye slit or B-9’s chest panel), they were lighted appropriately.
*Wins the Obscure Award. Here, let me save you some Googling.