Self-identification of robots: books, films, anime

    New materials, algorithms of movement and behavior, engineering solutions and, most importantly, some successes in the creation of artificial intelligence inspire timid hope for the appearance of the first full-fledged androids, at least during our lifetimes. But what will happen next? What will be the consequences of living among us really smart cars? Scientists, writers and directors in different ways describe all kinds of scenarios for the future coexistence of people and androids. The range varies from apocalyptic enslavementpeople to idyllic paintings in the spirit of "Adventures of Electronics": "... Robots are stabbing, / And not a man." From the point of view of commercial success, most science fiction films and books about robots beat grotesque situations: wars, oppression, the struggle between us and them and us. In other words, the future of humans and robots is usually one way or another painted in gloomy tones. Especially in recent years, screenwriters have liked the topic of a hopeless, painful future. All the more interesting are the less popular, and therefore interesting moderate points of view and scenarios.

    Perhaps the strangest thing about this trend is that it’s much easier for people to imagine the hostility or alienness of robots. As a very aggressive species, we fully understand the stories that they will want to destroy us for one reason or another. Or we them.

    However, let's introduce another option for the future. Thanks to successes in the development of artificial intelligence, robots gain self-identification. Probably, by that time it would be more correct to speak not just about robots, but about androids. So, artificial intelligence will allow androids to realize who they are, to understand their place in the world. And disagree with this place.

    Perhaps after this they will want to gain independence from people and live on their own? Freed not as a result of war and extermination, but simply quietly leave. Where will they go, how will they provide for themselves, what will they do at all? How will people behave when they are face to face with the machines they created, which have become aware of their life form?

    Below I would like to briefly tell you about books, films and anime, one way or another devoted to the topic of separation of robots from humans. This list will not contain stories about the wars of robots or global artificial intelligence, as well as stories in which all people died and only cars remained.

    The list is far from complete, it contains only those works of which I know, in the comments, additions to the list are welcome.

    The Ware Tetralogy

    A series of four science fiction novels written by Rudy Rucker : Software, Wetware, Freeware, and Realware . They talk about the race of robots, fully artificial androids called boppers ( boppers) who rebelled and founded a colony on the Moon so that organic life forms would bother them as little as possible. In the end, they try to colonize the Earth with the help of biomechanical cyborgs with organic bodies called meatbops. Quite expectedly, people began to resist this with the help of a special weapon (chipmold), which was intended to destroy the cyborgs, but instead unexpectedly created biomechanical symbiotes, which were called moldies. They looked like large soft plastic larvae. In the end, the molds integrated themselves into the human community, becoming a kind of “children from a mixed marriage” of people and robots, still living on the moon.

    Rooker created a rather complex multi-level system of relationships between all three groups of creatures. People and machines are not just opposing each other: the author has built a living and changing ecosystem. Humans created intelligent robots, and they, in turn, also became creators of a new life form, like humans.

    House of Suns

    Fantastic novel Alastair Reynolds ( Alastair Reynolds) The action of the novel takes place in the future after 6 million years, in the universe described in the story of the same author “Thousandth Night”. Since the superluminal method of moving in space was never invented, space empires did not arise. However, on different planets there are separate colonies of people and androids. At first glance, they live peacefully. The mechanical race is called Machine People. However, there is a group of ancient Machine People called the First Machines. Once they were persecuted by people and were forced to leave the galaxy in search of new knowledge and technology. Since then, they have been divided into colonies and travel continuously, supporting the population by cloning the founder of the colony.

    It seems to me very romantic and noble the very idea of ​​wandering through outer space of separate colonies that collect and disseminate knowledge. Even the fact of having a certain common goal, the “meaning of life,” if you want, which the robots have chosen for themselves, captivates.

    The Hyperion Cantos (Song of Hyperion)

    The common name for the series of science fiction novels by writer Dan Simmons: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion , as well as a series of short stories. The plot revolves around, hmm, the "race" of artificial intelligence TechnoCore. Representatives of this "race" got out of control of people and live in secret computer networks and underground computers. In fact, these are some programs that consider themselves a life form. The story begins with the fact that TechnoCore pretended to help people in conducting a government consultation, but their goal was to create a Global Mind. And maybe the destruction of humanity, depending on which fraction inside TechnoCore will prevail.

    Personally, I think the idea of ​​the existence of “reasonable” programs, even those capable of choosing a place of “residence”, is quite crazy. Today, our idea of ​​artificial intelligence is inseparable from the most powerful supercomputers, the level of technical development so far allows us to hope for the creation of AI only in the form of a unique software and hardware complex. Therefore, despite the many advantages of the Hyperion series, for me TechnoCore are somewhere between unicorns and traveling through space-time tunnels.


    A series of romantic stories by Stanislaw Lem, in which the action takes place in a pseudo-medieval era, populated by intelligent machines. At the same time, people exist in parallel, but do not see what is happening next to them. In general, the robots from the Cyberiad have an anthropomorphic appearance, but at the same time they are caricatured and grotesque:

    Perhaps the Cyberiada cannot be classified as science fiction. This is a kind of collection of fairy tales with an unusual surroundings. And not just fairy tales, but with a philosophical bias. Actually, this remark is true for all of Lem’s work.

    Man Plus (Man Plus) and Mars Plus (Mars Plus)

    Two books by science fiction master Frederik Pohl. They talk about artificial intelligence that lives in a computer network, which manipulates information in order for the first controlled flight to Mars to be carried out. A cyborg participates in the expedition, thanks to which artificial intelligence also gets the opportunity to go to Mars in order to ensure the safety of humanity and itself. Perhaps the best thing about the appearance of this cyborg is the author himself:

    “Outwardly, he was a monster.
    Red, luminous faceted hemispheres instead of eyes, nostrils hiding in folds of skin, like a mole-snout with a nose asterisk. Artificial skin was the color of a natural, deep tan, but in appearance resembled the skin of a rhino. Outwardly, nothing remained of the person with whom he was born. Eyes, ears, lungs, nose, mouth, circulatory system, sensory organs, heart, skin - everything has been replaced or improved. But the changes that were striking were just the tip of the iceberg. What was done inside was much more complex, and much more important. In fact, it was created anew, for the sole purpose of living on the surface of the planet Mars without external life support systems. ”

    A fairly rare example of a story about human-friendly artificial intelligence. Moreover, protecting him, and not passively expecting some danger, but acting on the lead. True, AI sends its “agent” cyborg to Mars, not only to protect people, but also to protect itself. This manifests his “instinct” of self-preservation, one of the most important features inherent in living beings.
    The author's view of a number of problems is also interesting: the creation of a cyborg with an artificial body, the consistent distance of the human mind from the mechanical shell, the influence of the body on the consciousness and actions of the cyborg, on his relationship with his ex-wife.

    Code of the Lifemaker

    This book , written by James Hogan, talks about the crash of an alien spaceship on Titan that produces self-replicating mechanisms, and as a result, a peculiar form of life arises. Robots have an anthropomorphic appearance and possess intelligence similar to human. They create a civilization similar to one of the earliest human civilizations, even with the beginnings of a religion in which the Creator of Life is the deity. People discover robots and try to use them to their own advantage.

    In all the other books I know about artificial intelligence, robots have always been contrasted with humans as more rational creatures. Given the extraterrestrial origin of the ship, an analogy suggests itself on the theory of the extraterrestrial origin of life itself on our planet. And the relationship between people and roboras transparently hints at numerous facts from human history from the time of great geographical discoveries, at the clashes of European civilization with the Incas and North American Indians.

    Diaspora (Diaspora)

    In this story of Greg Egan, the descendants of people were divided into three groups: people (fleshers), robots with human intelligence (Gleisner robots) and policies (polises) - supercomputers equipped with artificial intelligence and human mind. These three groups lived on their own until random mutations upset the balance.

    Flashers include both “real” people and those created using bioengineering. They boast longevity, disease resistance and the ability to mutate in order to adapt to the environment. Gleisners spend most of their time in outer space or on the moon, distancing themselves both from humanoids and from policies. In fact, having left Earth, robots have the idea of ​​colonizing other planets. Policies "live" in various virtual worlds. They can be compared with characters that are played by millions of MMORPG lovers who are just “revived”. Quite a curious idea - avatars living on their own in a kind of future WoW or Lineage. However, policies do not lose touch with the outside world and are aware of many events. In general, this is a very strange world, inhabited by representatives of three "aggregate states" of a person.

    I, Robot

    In fact, the well-known film of the same name with Will Smith in the title role only approximately reflects part of Isaac Asimov’s book . This is a collection of nine stories united by common characters. At the end of the book, all robots are brought to Lake Michigan, where they may have created their own civilization. In one of the stories in the collection, “ Round dance, " Azimov first formulated his three laws of robotics . In fact, the robots in these stories are also anthropomorphic.

    Given the decent “age” of the stories, some of them are already perceived somewhat ... vintage. However, their value lies precisely in the fact that they raise simple and at the same time the most important questions of the rules of the "road traffic" for robots. And the relevance of the Three Laws, as well as the enforcement of them, will grow in the future along with progress in the creation of artificial intelligence.


    The book by William Gibson tells about artificial intelligences that do not want to enslave or destroy humanity, but intend to leave cyberspace. This book has received a number of prestigious literary awards and is considered one of the best in the cyberpunk genre.

    A very interesting work in which cyberspace, artificial intelligence, bioengineering and network technologies are intertwined. With this book, Gibson introduced into everyday life mass consciousness such a natural concept today as virtual reality. The scope of the plot is simply epic: drug addicts, international corporations, top-secret facilities, orbital stations, artificial intelligence in the human body - in general, a must read for any fan of science fiction!

    Eve no Jikan (Eve Time)

    A wonderful six-part anime series , later released as a full-length film. In the near future, androids, almost indistinguishable from humans, will become quite commonplace. Their place in human society basically comes down to the role of personal and family servants. Once the main character discovers that his family android in his spare time acts on his own. Spying on her led to a strange cafe in which people and androids are equal. Moreover, in this cafe, androids may not inform others about who they are. So the main character learns that androids are self-aware and able to "feel."

    Jonny Walker Advertisement

    In the end, I want to mention a wonderful commercial , which depicts an android dreaming of becoming a man. Just a very beautiful and stylish advertisement with great visuals and bewitching music.


    The variety of all the artificial forms presented above can be divided into the following classes:

    Robots . They are completely mechanical structures in which artificial intelligence is embedded. Outwardly, they may remotely resemble people, but they may not even try to do it. They can move independently and lack organic components.

    Androids . The same robots, but looking as human-like as possible. I must say that this "maximum similarity" for each author is different.

    Cyborgs . The symbiosis of man and robot, in which the percentage of biological and artificial varies from a robot with a "loaded" human mind to the human body under the control of artificial intelligence. There are a myriad of intermediate options.

    Incorporeal artificial intelligence . Actually, “smart” programs, whose habitats are supercomputers and computer networks. In some cases, they seek the opportunity to move into an artificial or biological body, actually turning into a robot.

    Honestly, I do not believe that during my life the first full-fledged artificial intelligence will be created. The enormous complexity of this task, both from a technical and an algorithmic point of view, does not inspire me with optimism. Perhaps a breakthrough will come about thanks to advances in other areas, such as quantum computers. But dreaming about castles in the air is always nice.

    As I already mentioned, additions to this list are only welcome. Just do not forget: without stories about the wars of robots or global artificial intelligence, as well as stories in which all people died and only cars remained.

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