robot memes

Bilal Farooqui/Twitter

2017 is the year robots became memes

At least we'll be laughing when the robots

Dec 30, 2017, 12:37 pm*

Internet Culture

Elijah Watson 

Elijah Watson

This year there were many indicators that the world is nearing its inevitable end. Yes, Donald Trump contributes significantly to that, but there was something else that, although not necessarily a threat now, was afoot. 


This year has seen an unprecedented rise in robot and artificial intelligence-related stories. From pole-dancing robots to Sophia, a robot modeled after Audrey Hepburn who is now the world’s first robot citizen (Saudi Arabia granted her citizenship), a future in which we live and work with, as well as love, robots is becoming more of a reality each and every day. But as we all know in this day and age, the way to cope with anything, especially our impending dystopian, robot-ruled future, is through memes. And this year there were some notable highlights in regards to robot memes.

The first one to come to mind? This one, where a Knightscope K5 security robot quit its job by drowning itself in a fountain.

Still to this day (the incident happened back in July), there’s no explanation as to why the robot drowned itself, but following the viral tweet many users offered their own theories.

The Robot got a good look at the possibilities of the Republican agenda for Healthcare and Tax reform & 2016 Election team,” one user tweeted, while another wondered if the robot was simply bored, writing “Security robot, bored with his trivial job, decides to call it a day.”

There was also this tweet that implied a short story printed by a rival robot and read to the K5 robot led to the latter’s death, the story so unbearable that it drowned itself.

So, although we might not have to worry about the K5s when the robot wars occur, we’ll surely have to worry about Boston Dynamics’ collection of robots. In 2015 and 2016, videos of the Boston company testing the functions of their machines were released, with one focused on a four-legged robot named Spot, and the other Atlas.

For both Spot and Atlas, scenes of the robots being pushed around and abused became viral, so much so that one YouTube user even compiled every instance where Boston Dynamics has abused their robots. This year came a similar video from a user on Twitter who captioned the post with “discrimination and abuse in the workplace is NOT okay.” From there, other users provided their own hilarious responses to the tweet.

“The year is 4017 and robots see this video. That is how the war against the humans began,” wrote someone. “Robots taking names like,” wrote another. One user even noted how a recently-unveiled version of Atlas can now backflip, to which someone else responded “Yeah, now hes bout to backflip and kick homie in the jaw for fuckin with it.”

But the worldwide robot takeover isn’t all bad. Just look at sex robots. Although sex robots have been around for years, like Spot and Atlas, they continue to get updated in ways that are supposed to make them more human. Such is the case with Samantha and Harmony, two sex robots that were unveiled this year.

The former robot is the more notable of the two, with Samantha gaining prominence on ITV’s This Morning program back in September. The viral video featured Samantha’s co-creator Arran Lee Squire discussing the robot’s capabilities, which includes everything from a functional G-spot to a family and romantic mode.

They can be used for normal, professional couples; people can have a threesome with the dolls, and we have tried it out ourselves,” Squire said. “There is nothing weird about the doll, and it is to help people, not replace women.”

But just with every pro there’s usually a con. Aside from the problem that sex robots are mostly made for straight cisgender men, there’s also the possibility of robots either fucking us to death or being hacked and killing us.

In December of last year came a report from Gizmodo titled “Sex Robots May Literally Fuck Us to Death,” where Swiss researcher Oliver Bendel spoke to an audience of potential sex robot users at the Second International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots.

“If the machine over-exerts the human, it reduces the possibility of human sex,” Bendel warned the group, which basically translates to “If you fuck this robot too much it could lead to your death.”

Then, in September of this year, came another report where tech experts declared that hackers could program sex robots to kill its users.

“Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices,” Dr. Nick Patterson of Deakin University in Australia, said to the Daily Star. “Once hacked they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage.”

Which brings us to the robot who has not only taken over robot memes but who’ll likely take over the world in the foreseeable future: Sophia. 2017 was Sophia’s year, as she made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as well as Good Morning Britain. After she was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia in October, Sophia revealed that she wanted to have a baby, telling the Khaleej Times:

The notion of family is a really important thing, it seems. I think it’s wonderful that people can find the same emotions and relationships, they call family, outside of their blood groups, too.”

Ultimately, this moment led to this wonderful meme which then transformed into a meme where users offered their own survival strategies against Sophia.

There was also this brief meme where Nicki Minaj fans were pitting the rapper against Sophia, saying that the former was calling out the latter in her verse on Migos “MotorSport.”

When the robot takeover takes place, hopefully these memes will still be around to provide us some comfort and remind us of the days before we were calling Sophia our overlord.

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*First Published: Dec 25, 2017, 6:00 am