[BLOG]: Robots: Futurama

[BLOG]: Robots: Futurama

Postby Adrien Briod on 08 Oct 2010, 09:55

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In today's episode we speak with David X. Cohen, the head writer and executive producer of Futurama!

David X. Cohen

ImageIn addition to becoming one of TV's best known writers, David X. Cohen has always had a vested interest in the sciences, receiving his Bachelor in Physics from Harvard University and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Berkeley. During graduate school David started writing for television, eventually writing for The Simpsons with creator Matt Groening. From their collaboration was born Futurama.

Futurama portrays society in the 31st-century. The show provides a very funny account of the ever increasing incorporation of technology into our lives. True to science-fiction tradition, the future is filled with robots albeit those with terrible personalities and odd responsibilities including growing replacement hair for humans.

In this episode, Cohen tells us about how he creates robots for television and describes his vision of the future of human society.


Describe a robotic character you would like to see on Futurama in the comments section below. Make your character funny, moving, crazy or sad and as graphical as possible! If we like your character most, we'll send you a Futurama DVD of your choice. The contest ends on the 22nd of October.


Latest News:
More information on this week's news (the thought-controlled rat wheelchair and the new field of robot anesthesia) can be found in the Robots forum.
Adrien Briod
Posts: 16
Joined: 22 Sep 2009, 11:34

Re: [BLOG]: Robots: Futurama

Postby Pius Agius on 09 Oct 2010, 12:34

Hello There

It is wonderful that you are featuring Futurama in this weeks podcast. I consider it a very funny show and the humor is intelligent. The producers use sounds from various science fiction shows and I really like how they make the robots on the show very individual. The future indeed will be bright if we make our robots as companions on the trip, not just servants and soldiers. I love the podcast and NEVER miss an episode!!
Pius Agius
Posts: 4
Joined: 12 Mar 2010, 20:46

Re: [BLOG]: Robots: Futurama

Postby occorled on 14 Oct 2010, 18:01

Turing Bot (sample conversation)
Crew is having a conversation, deciding on whether or not to do something.
Fry: "What do YOU think, Turing Bot?"
Turing Bot prints out a ticker tape with the symbols 'O' 'K' '.' 'HALT'
Fry walks over to Turing Bot, takes the tape, and looks at it.
Fry: "He's in."

Row Bot (sample conversation)
Crew is in a small boat, navigating a narrow river en-route to deliver a package.
Fry is reading an up-side-down map.
Hermes is cutting down overhanging branches/vines with a machete (green snakes escaping down the trees).
Fry: "Ok, looks like we'll need to go up at the next waterfall."
Farnsworth: "Yes, yes, a piece of cake for my new ROW Bot."
Cut to the bow of the boat showing a Row Bot (an automatic boat rowing robot) moving the boat along.

Answering Machine (sample conversation)
Farnsworth: "Good news, everyone! I've designed a robot to answer the phone for us when we're too busy to do so ourselves. I call him, Answering Machine."
Bender roles his eyes.
Fry: "Whoa...."
Amy: "That's soooo amazing."
Leela: "Uh... professor?"
Farnsworth: "Observe."
Cut to the phone and Answering Machine. Phone rings and the robot (a life-like, state-of-the-art humanoid) picks up the phone and hands it to Farnsworth.
Farnsworth: "Yes? No I'm NOT interested! Yes, you can call back between the hours of 'who cares' and 'I don't give a damn'."
Farnsworth hands the phone back over to Answering Machine, who then hangs it up (slamming it down).
Farnsworth nods approvingly to Answering Machine, who smiles in return.

Outlook (sample conversation)
A blocky humanoid robot which takes the role of Microsoft Outlook for the Futurama crew. He has the Outlook symbol on his chasis, and the Windows startup sound plays when he enters the room.
Consider a scene at the morning meeting, the crew is just sitting down, getting coffee, etc.
Outlook enters and starts handing out letters to everyone individually (symbolizing everyone checking their daily email). Some of the letters have attachments (literally polaroid pictures or notes attached with a paperclip).
Leela is flipping through hers, mumbling "spam, spam, ooooh what's this".
Outlook finishes and starts walking out the room.
Outlook: "OK people, remember we've got a meeting at 1:30 in the conference room."
Everyone sighs. Mumbling is heard.
Hermes' voice: "Notify me 5 minutes prior."
Bender's voice: "Declined!"

VCS (sample conversation)
Fry is fiddling with the TV antenna. A picture of Morbo delivering the news is on TV.
Fry: "It's no use. Something's wrong with the TV. The 8800p rez isn't working."
Bender: "If it ain't 88, it ain't any great. Trademark."
Farnswoth: "Hmm... this gives me a chance to try out that new VCS I recently had installed."
Farnsworth walks over to a box near the TV (looks like an Atari 2600), he picks up a cartridge, blows into it and inserts it into the box.
The picture changes to an 8-color (3 bit) barely recognisable, super-blocky picture of Morbo.
Farnsworth: "Pretty smooth, huh?"

MMO Bot (idea & sample conversation)
It could be funny to include a reference to "bots" in MMO games, additional characters that players setup to automatically accomplish tasks for them. These are sometimes also referred to as "mules".
Futurama crew are mounting mules (like Kif did when on Mars searching for buggalo, or Leela and Fry did going to that huge telescope up in the mountains to search for Bender in space).
Cut to either Fry or Leela.
Fry/Leela: "Uh... I might need a smarter 'mule'."
Show humanoid NPC walking continuously into a wall while swinging a sword, with a pile of items next it (reference to a personal bazaar).

Bender (idea)
I always thought it would be cute if someone asked Bender why he was so impulsive & unpredictable, and he replied "most of my state diagrams are non-deterministic", or some equivalent reference to NFAs.
Posts: 1
Joined: 14 Oct 2010, 16:59

Re: [BLOG]: Robots: Futurama

Postby WMA on 18 Oct 2010, 22:23

Blog Bot
This is a robot designed with the specific purpose of emulating the average teenager blogger. His appearance is that of a teenager wearing low pants and a black hoodie with the hoddie over his head, he can see and hear like a human but he usually stares down at the floor and ignores his surroundings. He goes around town to movie theaters, malls and any other place regularly visited by an average teenager but when he blogs about his experiences he only mentions the most mundane and regular of tasks as the most interesting part of his day in as much detail as possible and with no point to get across:

"I ate a sandwich that I bought from the store right across the movie theater. It was stale but I was hungry."

"I went to a party and on the way there a piece of gum got stuck to my foot."

"There were police cars in a home where I was walking by, so I stopped and looked at the blue and red lights for a minute before continuing my walk."
Posts: 1
Joined: 18 Oct 2010, 21:46

Re: [BLOG]: Robots: Futurama

Postby fidett on 18 Oct 2010, 22:45

I would like to see a robot-hat. One that *tries* to help its owner with mundane activities. Wiping your nose, using Q-tips. I can easily imagine Fry wearing one (that is, of course, not working properly). Imagine it Q-tip-ing Fry's eyes, brushing his ears out with a toothbrush, shaving his eye lashes. Oh the future....
Posts: 1
Joined: 18 Oct 2010, 22:42

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