cover image Emotional Robots: A Question of Existence

Emotional Robots: A Question of Existence

Alex Zohar, Greg Fass, and Jake Richardson. Princeton Architectural Press, $16.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-64896-039-0

This futuristic fable gives a quirky twist to the science-fiction trope of humans creating sentient beings only to suffer unintended consequences. Presented in mock-biblical tones, the narrative opens describing how humans created the first robots: “And it was good.” First relegated to menial labor—making food and drinks for pool-lounging humans—robots eventually take over more complicated tasks (driving cars, flying planes, fighting wars). But once they develop emotions and conquer different fields (art, music, sports), humans get bored in their futility and leave for another planet. The cycle of creation and dependence pushes further on, as the “old robots” make “new robots” to do their menial tasks. Just as humans found themselves supplanted, the old robots are eventually relegated to an underclass and have to rely on do-gooding new robot politicians to advocate for their “well-being.” Zohar combines a flat crayon aesthetic with a Gary Larson–ish characterization that makes each human appear clueless to their errors. Moralistic without moralizing, it’s a comedic if somewhat lightweight thought experiment, which could be equally appreciated by children and adults[em]. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (May) [/em]