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July 31st, 2004, 05:55 AM
This is a really long article about the new movie, "I, Robot." Among those interviewed is Patrick Tatopoulos, a conceptual designer for movies including Stargate.

Here's the link:


(Please follow the link for the complete article.)

..."The idea of robots is very similar to Frankenstein,” says Patrick Tatopoulos, a conceptual designer for movies including Stargate, Independence Day and Godzilla, who designed the pioneering NS5 for the film. “You are creating life. There is always the sense of being overtaken by this creation. For me it is mostly about design; when they are anthropomorphic it becomes very disturbing. Although, I am not convinced that robots of the future will necessarily be anthropomorphic.”


Thus filmmakers have been left with little but their own imaginations to base their theories on. Tatopoulos decided to go back to the conceptual stage; the NS5 isn’t a robot as such but a computer on legs. “Maybe that is the way to picture the robots of the future,” he explains, “not so much as a massive piece of hardware with pistons and things, but as a computer that has become mechanical. That makes me feel we can push it further.”


While mulling over a look for his star, Tatopoulos passed an assistant’s desk with an Apple iMac on it. He realised that in 30 years personal computers had evolved from lumpy grey boxes into sleek, eye-pleasing objects. Our current concept of a robot as cuboid bore will surely develop similarly. “Robots should look pleasant and attractive, with this sense of aesthetic and fashion.”


Tatopoulos is more concerned with the opposite process of life becoming technology. “Elements of robotics are going into humans,” he explains, “then there is the question of when a human becomes a robot. With artificial limbs and artificial hearts it is becoming complicated. Where does humanity remain? Is it just keeping a brain?”


For all his musing, and the various cinematic conceits he pored over in researching I, Robot’s scientific and philosophical basis, Tatopoulos remains sceptical about how close we will ever come to creating artificial life and building armies of robots. The notion still seems to dwell in the realms of fiction, Asimov’s mottled future of man and machine a writer’s far-flung dream.

Robot wisdom

Forbidden Planet (1956)

“Sorry, miss, I was giving myself an oil-job” — Robby the Robot

Dr Who (1963 onwards)

“Exterminate, exterminate” — the Daleks (OK, not entirely robots but steely hearted)

Lost in Space (1965)

“I am sorry, Will Robinson, I am afraid I goofed” — Robot

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that, Dave” — HAL, miscreant ship’s computer

The Stepford Wives (1975)

“I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe. I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe. I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe” — Nanette Newman as Carol Van Sant

Star Wars (1977)

“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life” — C-3PO

The Terminator (1984)

“I’ll be back”

Robocop (1987)

“Thank you for your co-operation” (after blasting a hapless felon)

The Matrix (1999)

“Never send a human to do a machine’s job” — Agent Smith

A.I. (2001)

“Please make me a real boy” — David




Richard Dean Anderson Fans