The Scissor Sisters frontwoman and robot obsessive Ana Matronic has written a book. Robot Takeover looks at 100 of the most iconic robots from popular culture including R2-D2 in Star Wars, Maria in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and the Sentinels of The Matrix. The book also explores robots in music, art and fashion.
Matronic has, as her name suggests, been fascinated with robots since she was young. She even has a tattoo of robot circuitry on her right shoulder. “I consider myself a transhumanist,” says Matronic. “I am deeply interested in the opportunity presented by technology to transform who we are as people.”
The first 65 entries are fictional robots and the last 35 are real robots, including Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner, that have been maufactured throughout history. “Robots and artificial intelligence have been applied to every single facet of human life, and I wanted to show how pervasive the interface is,” says Matronic, whose real name is Ana Lynch.
What are a few of her personal favourite robots? “Maria from Metroplis is the most beautiful, sexy, artful and influential robot of all time. From C-3PO’s design to Janelle Monae’s music to the fashion of Thierry Mugler, she is everywhere,” she says. “Jaime Sommers, aka the Bionic Woman, who is not a robot but a cyborg, meaning she’s a human who has been enhanced with bionic technology, is my lifelong heroine.”
Robots Robbie and Speedy from Isaac Asimov’s science-fiction stories are also top of her list. “Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are the most widely applied robotic theory in science fiction,” she says. Robby from Forbidden Planet is a contender because “he is one of the most iconic-looking robots ever created, and the only robot with his own actor page on the Internet Movie Database.” C-3P0 and R2-D2 are in there as a joint entry – “the heart and mind of the Star Wars franchise”.
She also touches on evil robots, “which the Machines in the Terminator franchise and Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger in Westworld so perfectly embody.
“We are a long way off from robots being as agile and capable as the human body,” adds Matronic. “So don’t expect the Terminator to be a reality any time soon.”
‘Robot Takeover’ by Ana Matronic is published by Cassell Illustrated in September, £14,99