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A fictional history of robotics features forgotten real-world robots

Thumbnail of Science Robotics article with a historical robot autonomous car.

Alex Garland's sci-fi movie The Creator uses six real-world robots from the 1950s and 1960s to ground progress in AI. What were these six robots, why were they chosen, and why were they forgotten? Click here for the Science Robotics article answering those questions.

The Creator, the 2023 Oscar-award winning science fiction movie, opens with a newsreel presenting an alternative history of robots, pushing breakthroughs in artificial intelligence back to the 1960s which leads to a 20-minutes-into-the-future populated with humanoid robots called simulants. The newsreel cleverly intermingles archival footage of six real-world robots from 1950’s and 1960’s with visual effects robots as a way of explaining how simulants become reviled by the US and embraced by Asia.  The Science Robotics articles explores: What were these six robots, why were they chosen, and why were they forgotten?

You can view my other Science Fiction/Science Fact articles for Science Robotics behind the paywall.

If you love alternative timelines, check out the Boilerplate the Forest Gump of robotics!

My textbook Introduction to AI Robotics has a timeline of AI and robotics- that was adapted by National Geographic for the special issue on robotics.

If you are interested in other real historical robots featured in science fiction, you might be interested in these posts:

And definitely check out, a treasure trove of historical robots.


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