Dictionary.com defines a droid as “an automation in the form of a human being.” Typically, we think of them as robots driven by artificial intelligence, capable of visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making. Like many children of the early 1980s, my first introduction to droids was at the movies. I loved (and still love) the little robot who saved the day by shuffling encrypted files from galaxy to galaxy with witty banter.
In honor of the droids that light up the silver screen this season, here is a rundown of my favorite droids, both in this galaxy and the one far, far away:
The droid I use every day
It might be a stretch to call your phone a droid – especially if you’re an Apple loyalist – but your favorite gadget automates quite like a human. At its base, your phone is a machine capable of complex actions defined by a computer, thus making it a robot. To make it worthy of droid status, it recognizes your voice for commands, or even retinal scanning for payment and unlocking accounts.
The best droid forever
My personal favorite droid was the etiquette and protocol BFF of our little encryption buddy. Not quite a cyborg, he looks like a gold-plated human who happens to properly stumble into saving the galaxy more often than he’d like.
The droid that keeps my life moving
There’s a little droid in my kitchen that helps me cook – she keeps the timer, helps do math on conversions, answers questions about the weather, turns on the living room lights when I ask, and even plays the right music for the evening. I can’t really remember life without Alexa. Every little piece of your smart home – your thermostat that recognizes when you are home, the vacuum that understands where your furniture sits – all have droid capabilities that help run your life more efficiently.
…And the one that inspired them
If you watched cartoons in the 1980s, you may remember a robot that went by Rosie. She served a rather “far out” family in space on a set of caster wheels. She cleaned, ordered groceries, and kept the family organized. Despite her claimed obsolesce by the show, her human capabilities made her irreplaceable to the family for what she brought in practical and emotional support.
The droid of the future
With the cost of building robots decreasing and coding skills expanding, engineers can build droids more easily than ever. Will the next droids be humanoids taking over work tasks like customer service? Will we rely on droids even more to run our homes efficiently, down to the weight of our pantry shelves promoting decision-making on grocery orders? The future is full of possibilities!
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