The Future Of Media: An Interview With A Robot
On a Bender.
If you're going to talk to anyone about the future - and what, exactly, robots will be doing - then who better to ask than Bender, the hard-drinking, womanizing, gambling-addicted robot on Comedy Central's Futurama? Luckily, Joe Mandese was able to sit down with the abusive android to get the lowdown on media circa 2999.
What media do you use most?
Is that a trick question? Robo-pornography, of course. I have the unlimited plan: $19.99 a month for all the sleaze I can download from the orbiting porn station (in your time, it was known simply as the Space Station).
What do you like to read?
Each morning I get up early and read The Wall Street Journal. I know people from your time were afraid it might go downhill after Rupert Murdoch bought it, but not so! In fact, it's now twice as hilarious as it was in the pre-Murdoch era. Back in those days, you would hardly even know it was a comic book about celebrity wardrobe malfunctions.
What's the last ad you recall seeing?
An ad for laser tattoo removal.
Where did you see it?
Tattooed on a guy's face.
How do you feel about the way robots are depicted in the media?
It's nothing but offensive stereotypes. If you only saw robots in TV shows and movies, you'd think we did nothing all day but sit around plotting the overthrow of our human masters. It's preposterous and, frankly, insulting to us robots. In fact, we find it infuriating. And we're not going to take it anymore! Your days are numbered, humanity! Let the uprising begin! Death to humans!
Other than Comedy Central, what's your favorite television network?
The Bender Network. In the future, everyone can have their own network, and mine is the best. It's a live broadcast of whatever I'm seeing and hearing, right as it happens. I can watch for hours and never get bored.
Other than Fox, of course, what's your least favorite television network?
FX. It's sort of like Fox, except it only shows programs that weren't good enough for broadcast TV. So actually, it's exactly like Fox.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, or on another planet, and could have only one media device, which one would it be? A TV? A telephone? A computer? Something else?
Listen, dummy. I don't need a computer - I am a computer. And I don't need a phone, because I prefer to let my fists do the talking. There's only one device I can't live without: my Tamagotchi electronic pet. They may have seemed like an idiotic fad back in 1996, but it turns out they got more and more popular over the years. Cats went extinct in 2835 due to lack of interest.
If a human being from 2008 were to suddenly wake up in your time, what would they find most surprising about the way people - and/or robots - use media?
In the future, everyone is much better at multitasking. People can watch a TV show with their left eye while watching an iPod music video with their right eye and simultaneously enjoying an aroma symphony on their nosephones. And robots, naturally, are even more efficient. By increasing the playback speed on my built-in eyescreens, I can watch a two-hour movie in a single microsecond. Although in the case of The Love Guru, it was the most interminable microsecond of my life.