Futurama does an episode on nano-technology.

post by Alexei · 2011-06-27T02:44:14.496Z · score: 3 (6 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 11 comments

Futurama, Season 6, Episode 15: Benderama

Naturally, this episode's goal is entertainment, not so much the accurate portrayal of the technology.

Quoting from wikipedia article:

The premise of "Benderama" is based around the transhumanist theory of grey goo, an end-of-the-world scenario in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves.

The episode is not officially available for viewing online (but you can still find it, of course).


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comment by JGWeissman · 2011-06-27T04:47:11.354Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

If only I had programmed the robot to be more careful what I wished for.

This may be the best description of the Friendliness problem in popular media.

comment by lukeprog · 2011-06-27T04:45:47.744Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Watched it. Successful in getting the idea across, I think. Next stop: an intelligence explosion episode!

comment by dvasya · 2011-07-14T01:47:00.728Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like it's going to be in the season finale: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurama_(season_6)#Episodes ("Overclockwise")

comment by [deleted] · 2011-06-27T03:03:43.076Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't yet watched the episode, but I just want to remind everyone to try to avoid unintentionally priming yourself and updating on fiction.

That said, I think Futurama is a pretty good show and I'm looking forward to watching this one.

comment by MartinB · 2011-06-27T16:23:33.358Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It came close to nightmare fuel for me. Luckily bender does not usually selfreplicate.

comment by Document · 2011-06-27T03:03:05.048Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW


comment by Alexei · 2011-06-27T03:21:27.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. That seems like the right episode, but I have no idea why they call it Season 8, Episode 2. Wiki says it's Season 6, Episode 15.

comment by ewang · 2011-06-28T04:13:25.426Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Somebody remind me why we can't have nanobots that build a different kind of nanobot that builds a different kind of nanobot that builds a different kind of nanobot that does all the work.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2011-06-27T21:21:01.845Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The depiction of the personalities of the individual 'mini/micro/nano benders' was interesting, They seemed to maintain the same independent personality, but cooperate because of shared goals. Also interesting as while an individual bender is not explicitly 'unfriendly' (just annoying) because they all pioritise their survival above other things, and desire to reduce their workload the overall effect is very harmful. So good example of unintended consequences in AI design there.

[Also favourite quote: "THE SEQUENCE IS NON-CONVERGING"]

comment by magfrump · 2011-06-28T06:43:12.464Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm guessing the episode is better done than the Gargoyles episode (Season 2 Episode 33, "Walkabout").

comment by j_andrew_rogers · 2011-06-27T16:34:42.524Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Apropos the Wikipedia article, in what way is grey goo a "transhumanist theory"?

Grey goo scenarios are relatively straightforward extrapolations of mundane technological progress and complex system dynamics with analogues in real biological systems. Subscribing to transhumanism is not a prerequisite to thinking that grey goo is a plausible region of the technological development phase space.