Love in the Time of Robots

It’s easy to spot robots on screen these days: They’re the beautiful ones getting assaulted by humans. In HBO’s new series “Westworld,” the ingénue robot Dolores is raped and brutalized off-camera in a repeated loop. In “Humans,” a British TV show that returns this winter for a second season in the U.S., a lifelike machine named Anita is pressed into sex with her married human owner, whose version of pillow talk​ includes the command: “Delete this from your records.” While robots have long been a staple of film and television, their once-outlandish future has never felt so close. Story lines routinely incorporate aspects of artificial intelligence. In the hope and anxiety of the moment, writers are asking viewers: Are robots heroes, villains or just appliances? Hollywood is seizing on the…

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