Robot or Not?

167 EpisodesProduced by John Siracusa, Jason SnellWebsite

Jason Snell asks John Siracusa to rule on the meaning of various words and concepts. It’s not just about robots anymore.

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165: Leftovers

September 9th, 2019

5:31

When does a meal turn into leftovers?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The Incomparable network by becoming a member. Members get early access to podcasts, …

164: Cover Version

August 26th, 2019

4:03

Listener Luke sent in this week’s theme song. Is it a cover version of our canonical theme song? When is a new version of a song not a cover?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other …

163: Family

August 14th, 2019

7:44

What constitutes family? Blood relatives only? Are friends family? Are co-workers family? Can you escape your family?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The …

162: Doors

July 29th, 2019

3:25

What about when they’re ajar?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Show Notes & Links

161: Storefronts

July 15th, 2019

6:35

Select all the STOREFRONTS to prove that you’re a human.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The Incomparable network by becoming a member. Members get early …

160: Bacon

July 1st, 2019

6:09

By popular demand, John has done his research—or maybe not?—and is here to break down what is bacon and what is an impostor.

Host John Siracusa

159: Campus Delivery Robots

June 11th, 2019

4:30

Prompted by a note from Listener Zach, we discuss the trend of “autonomous food delivery vehicles” on college campuses.

Host John Siracusa and

158: Pants

June 3rd, 2019

2:46

The entire conversation is pants. (The Brits will get that.)

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

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157: Board Games

May 20th, 2019

9:21

How much board is required?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The Incomparable network by becoming a member. Members get early access to podcasts, bonus …

156: Combination Restaurants

May 6th, 2019

7:02

We’ll see you at the Carl’s Jr./Green Burrito/KFC/Taco Bell.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Show Notes & Links

Theme song by Listener Luke. (Is it a cover or not?)

155: TV and Movies

April 15th, 2019

15:57

When is it a TV show and when is it a movie? It’s confusing.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The Incomparable network by becoming a member. Members get early …

154: American Food

April 1st, 2019

6:01

It all goes back to Mesopotamia.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Show Notes & Links

Thanks to Listener Beth for the question and Listener Chris for the theme song.

153: Live Action

March 18th, 2019

8:20

If the new “Lion King” film features CGI animals talking with other CGI animals, is it a “live-action” movie or just a different kind of animation? What about a movie like “Avengers: Infinity War”?

Host John Siracusa

152: Milk

March 4th, 2019

5:16

Legal news: Is Almond Milk milk?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Show Notes & Links

151: "Chick Flick"

February 18th, 2019

9:31

What is a “Chick Flick”? Let’s start off by taking apart the term itself.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Show Notes & Links

Theme by Listener Stuart!

150: Marty the Supermarket Robot

February 4th, 2019

6:35

In a rare topical episode, John and Jason discuss Marty, the tall, googly-eyed robot that may soon be roaming the aisles of a supermarket near you. …

149: Simulated Universe

January 21st, 2019

9:01

Is this real or are we in a video game? How can we tell the true nature of the universe?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

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148: Hacker

January 7th, 2019

2:16

Do hackers do good, or bad, or both?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

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147: Cult

December 24th, 2018

8:16

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The …

146: GIF

December 10th, 2018

5:20

Choosy mothers pronounce it differently.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell

Support this show and other shows like it on The Incomparable network by becoming a member. Members get early access to podcasts, …

145: Database

November 26th, 2018

3:49
Where spreadsheets and databases collide.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

144: Soup

November 12th, 2018

6:15
“You haven’t done soup yet, have you?”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

143: Phones

October 29th, 2018

6:55
Smartphones, dumb phones, feature phones, and computers in your pocket.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

142: Toasters

October 15th, 2018

9:20
Slot toasters, toaster ovens, and the definitions thereof.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

141: Podcasting

October 1st, 2018

2:50
What makes something a podcast? OMG, are we one?!

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

140: Bread

September 17th, 2018

3:14
Bread is bread, but what about hot dog buns, bagels, tortillas, and pitas?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

139: Planets, and also Pluto

September 3rd, 2018

5:34
John is given the opportunity to endorse or reject the rulings of the International Astronomical Union.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

138: Job Security

August 20th, 2018

8:28
John’s worked (and left) a lot of jobs. What’s his personal philosophy about job security versus going it alone as an independent?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

137: Nerds and Geeks

August 6th, 2018

6:16
The subtle and vexing difference between a nerd and a geek.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

136: Programming

July 23rd, 2018

8:56
What is computer programming? And what doesn’t qualify?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

135: Reality TV

July 9th, 2018

8:29
When is a game show a game show, and when is it reality television? Also, we reveal our favorite reality TV show.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

134: Personal Computers

June 25th, 2018

9:12
Is a Mac a PC? Is an iPad a computer? Does John favor a broad definition or a narrow one?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

133: Gnocchi

June 11th, 2018

5:04
Pasta existentialism - What makes pasta pasta?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

132: Seasons

May 28th, 2018

6:21
Endless mildness? - The conundrum of seasons versus eternally pleasant weather.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

131: Savory Donuts

May 14th, 2018

2:06
What about a bacon donut? - Bagels are not donuts, people.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

130: Sweaters

April 30th, 2018

2:23
It's all unraveling - Listener Ed, we’ve got bad news.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

129: Pets

April 16th, 2018

9:03
Do chickens count? - What makes an animal a pet?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

128: The Midwest

April 2nd, 2018

8:06
What are the boundaries? - Did both of Jason’s parents both come from the Midwest, or only one? What are the true boundaries of America’s heartland?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

127: Potato Chips

March 19th, 2018

6:53
Canonical flavors - From Sour Cream & Onion to BBQ, what are the “real” potato chip flavors?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

126: Vacation

March 5th, 2018

10:01
And what about Staycations? - If you don’t go anywhere, is it a vacation? What if you go somewhere, but you don’t relax?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

125: Cheesecake

February 19th, 2018

13:35
Not a pie - Is cheesecake cheese, cake, pie, tart, or none of the above? Does the angle of the pan matter? Does crust content matter? Do any of us matter, really?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

124: The Trolley Problem

February 7th, 2018

13:33
Ethical problems - As recently highlighted on “The Good Place”, it’s a classic ethical conundum that John wants absolutely no part of. And what if …

123: Janet from "The Good Place"

January 22nd, 2018

5:13
Not a woman. - Never believe what a robot tells you.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

122: Night (bark) Joggers (bark)

January 8th, 2018

1:54
Woof! - A dog interlude.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

121: Holidays and Holiday Movies

December 25th, 2017

7:23
Ho, ho, ho - What makes a movie a holiday movie? How do they celebrate winter holidays in warm climates? Merry Christmas to all, especially in …

120: Death

December 11th, 2017

11:47
This is the big one - Okay, time to call it. Time of death— wait, wait, everybody hold on. How do we define death?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

119: Life

November 27th, 2017

15:18
It's made of Life Stuff - How can we call something alive?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

118: Ice Cream

November 13th, 2017

10:31
There's only one R in Sherbet - It would seem like ice cream versus frozen yogurt would be the main debate. But the pronunciation of a third …

117: Brunch

October 31st, 2017

14:23
Meal times and sleep times - We discuss the names of meals and when they happen, and make an interesting(?) digression into human sleep cycles.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

116: Salad

October 16th, 2017

7:45
Fruit Salad? Yummy yummy. - From leafy greens to sugary Jell-O concoctions, all sorts of things are called salads.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

115: Barbecue

October 2nd, 2017

9:43
BBQ - Continuing our confused series of episodes about food-related topics, it’s time for John and Jason to talk about Jason’s favorite food style and what happens when you put food on a grill.

Host John Siracusa and …

114: Smoothie

September 18th, 2017

6:43
Will it blend? - If everything can be a smoothie, then nothing is. So we try to define what makes a smoothie and acts as a bulwark against the …

113: Art

September 4th, 2017

16:54
But is it art? - I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

112: Donuts

August 21st, 2017

10:26
Two blind men describe an elephant. - We don’t know quite what an old-fashioned donut is, but we know what we like… and what we don’t.

Host John …

111: Artificial Intelligence

August 7th, 2017

11:23
When is a machine truly intelligent? - What makes machine intelligence “real AI”? And what is the difference between strong and weak AI?

Host John …

110: Anime and Kaiju

July 24th, 2017

8:32
What defines Anime? - The very definition of video entertainment from Japan.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

109: Sport

July 10th, 2017

14:39
Baseball? Is not sport, is game. - What makes something a sport, and not an exercise or a game?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

108: Condiments and Favorite Foods

June 26th, 2017

9:51
Ketchup or Peanut Butter? - Exploring Jason’s favorite food, what a “favorite food” even is, and the hazy dividing line between condiments and other edibles.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

107: Science Fiction

June 12th, 2017

10:03
Sci-Fi or Fantasy? - What’s science fiction? And more importantly, is Star Wars science fiction, fantasy, or something else?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

106: Computer Chips

May 29th, 2017

11:44
Microchips. Not potato chips. - Is everything a computer chip? Is nothing a computer chip? Jason thinks this is gonna be good. John thinks it’s obvious.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

105: Canonical Bagel Flavors

May 15th, 2017

18:28
Bialys! - What is the canon of bagels? Why are some ingredients allowed in an Everything Bagel but not any other bagel style? What makes raisins an acceptable ingredient, yet bars blueberries? Mr. Siracusa, native of …

104: Pizza Toppings

May 2nd, 2017

9:39
Canonical pizza toppings - What toppings are allowed on pizza? And what about using a knife and fork to eat pizza? There are many rules.

Host John …

103: Pizza

April 17th, 2017

11:38
You have left Pizza Country. - John weighs in on what makes something a pizza, including the horror of the Turkey Dinner Pizza.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

102: Sandwiches

April 3rd, 2017

8:35
What is a sandwich? - Exploring what makes a sandwich, while also discussing the history of food, sandwiches as satire, and the difference between llamas and camels.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

101: Supervillains

March 20th, 2017

10:18
How super is my villain? - John helps Jason figure out the precise moment when a villain becomes a supervillain.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

100: The Robot

March 6th, 2017

2:19
At long last... the end? - Your hosts return to where it all began and then prepare to set out for new horizons. (Robot or Not will return in two weeks with a new series of episodes.)

Host John Siracusa and Jason …

99: Your Hosts

February 27th, 2017

2:54
John Siracusa and Jason Snell themselves. - Are John and Jason robots? All will be revealed!

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

98: Human Beings

February 20th, 2017

2:04
Us - Could it be? Are we all robots?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

97: Captchas

February 13th, 2017

0:51
Fill in the blank. - What does a robot do when it gets to a web page with a checkbox that says “I’m not a robot”?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

96: The Gate at Jabba's Palace

February 6th, 2017

2:55
Gatekeeper droid or door? - The gate at Jabba’s palace in “Return of the Jedi” talks to droids, or has something inside it that talks to droids. So is it a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

95: Autonomous Sailboats

January 30th, 2017

5:49
Roomba of the Sea? - They roam the ocean, scanning for important data and relaying their information home. There are no humans on board. Are these lonely sea voyagers robots?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

94: Shardik

January 23rd, 2017

4:13
A monster from the Dark Tower - The robotic guardian of the Beams. He looks like a bear but has a satellite dish on his head. He’s a thousand years …

93: Nintendo R.O.B.

January 16th, 2017

2:49
Nintendo's Robotic Operating Buddy - Game controller, robot, or total embarrassment?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

92: Pronunciation

January 9th, 2017

3:02
Robutt or not? - ˈrōˌbät or rōbət?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

91: Naked Robotic Core

January 2nd, 2017

5:27
iPhone, Unadorned - An unadorned iPhone can be a Naked Robotic Core, but is it a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

90: Mechagodzilla

December 26th, 2016

1:03
John loves him. - Look who was under the tree! It’s a giant mechanical monster!

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

89: Battlebots

December 19th, 2016

1:34
They fight! - Among the fiercest creatures in the machine kingdom are the Battlebots. They’re designed for fighting! But are they really robots, or is that just a clever marketing name?

Host John Siracusa and Jason …

88: School Babies and CPR Dummies

December 12th, 2016

1:03
Educational toys or robots? - High school students carry them around and learn what it’s like to be a parent. Or you learn how to revive them by …

87: K5 Mall Robot

December 5th, 2016

3:04
Does it follow Asimov's laws? - It patrols the mall. Sometimes it knocks over small children.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

86: The Hosts of "Westworld"

November 28th, 2016

6:54
It's in the brain! - The HBO series “Westworld” makes us contemplate whether its central characters, the Hosts, are robots or not. (We recorded this episode after the first seven episodes of season one had aired; …

85: The Bicentennial Man

November 21st, 2016

4:59
Robin Williams, Isaac Asimov, and Grobycs! - A robot slowly turns himself human. When does he stop being a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

84: Metal Mario

November 14th, 2016

1:32
Do metal men dream of robot sheep? - Sometimes Mario is metallic. Does that make him a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

83: Kayaks

November 7th, 2016

1:00
They have paddles. - They are boats with paddles. What else are they?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

82: The Borg

October 31st, 2016

6:22
You will be assimilated. - Straight out of “Star Trek” come these technological villains. Also, we discuss larger issues including AIs and hive …

81: The Energizer Bunny

October 24th, 2016

1:23
Nothing outlasts the Energizer - It just keeps going, and going, and going….

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

80: Tachikoma and Fuchikoma

October 17th, 2016

2:09
They're adorable... - Little cute robots from “Ghost in the Shell.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

79: SpaceX

October 10th, 2016

6:50
Robots (or not) in space! - Self-guided rockets and drone barges.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

78: Hot Dogs

October 3rd, 2016

1:32
Sandwich or Not, part 2 - They’re sure tasty, and it’s meat between bread, but are hot dogs sandwiches?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

77: Daft Punk

September 26th, 2016

1:27
DJs or not? - They sure look like robots. But who’s under the masks?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

76: Animals in "Blade Runner"

September 19th, 2016

2:42
How do you like our owl? - The owl and the snake from “Blade Runner” raise some interesting questions.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

75: Bubo

September 12th, 2016

3:49
A little metal owl from “Clash of the Titans.” Crafted by the gods, can he possibly be a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

74: Gort

September 5th, 2016

5:04
She's a real woman, Jim. - The robot from “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, plus a long digression into Star Trek androids.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

73: Cartoons

August 29th, 2016

2:11
Synonym or not? - Is all animation “cartoons”?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

72: Robots from "Castle in the Sky" and "The Iron Giant"

August 22nd, 2016

2:55
Two animation robots. - Two beloved metal creatures from animation.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

71: RoboCop

August 15th, 2016

2:18
RoboCop - That “Robo” prefix is sure interesting, and he’s probably a cop, but…

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

70: The Robots of "Futurama"

August 8th, 2016

5:16
So many robots. - Bender, Calculon, and Hedonismbot.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

69: Tron

August 1st, 2016

1:37
Lightcycles are cool. - He fights for the users inside a computer. Can software people be robots?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

68: Canadarm

July 25th, 2016

1:49
Oh, Canada! - A fancy “robot arm” from Canada. But when is a robot arm just an arm, and when is it a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

67: Silicone Stingray

July 18th, 2016

3:10
Timely episode! - Part animal, part machine. But is it a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

66: Traffic lights in South Africa

July 11th, 2016

1:47
Listener David, thanks - Please obey robot.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

65: Serena Williams

July 4th, 2016

8:36
Tennis or not? - It’s Wimbledon time, and so our discussion turns to tennis, and Serena Williams—who is not a robot, despite her perhaps wishing she was.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

64: Rossum's Universal Robots

June 27th, 2016

2:44
R.U.R. - Karel Capek’s play that made this podcast possible.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

63: Animatronic Creatures

June 20th, 2016

1:25
Charles E. Cheese Esquire - The Country Bears, Chuck E. Cheese, and the things from Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

62b: Filesystems and Flowerpot Robots

June 18th, 2016

3:50
Our first live episode - Live from RelayCon WWDC 2016, it’s a special live edition of Robot or Not.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell with Myke Hurley.

62: General Grievous

June 13th, 2016

2:16
Cough, cough - He’s a droid with a cough. So what’s the deal?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

61: Elevators

June 6th, 2016

3:15
Yes, we said elevators - They go up, they go down. They might even go sideways from time to time. And they can be smart. But are they robots?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

60: Inspector Gadget

May 30th, 2016

2:27
What if penny met a dinosaur? - Go go Gadget! Also we get off on a tangent about Penny, inspired by The Flop House.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

59: The Doctor from "Star Trek: Voyager"

May 23rd, 2016

2:53
Hologram or not - Please state the nature of the medical emergency. Can a hologram be a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

58: Synths

May 16th, 2016

3:34
From the AMC TV series “Humans,” the lifelike Synths look like humans but don’t act like it. And they bleed a funny color.

Host John Siracusa and …

57: Baymax

May 9th, 2016

6:26
"Big Hero 6" - He’s an inflatable, medical robot from “Big Hero 6”—but can you back up your personality and still be a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

56: The Incomparable's Logo

May 2nd, 2016

1:35
You know, that robot - Our own robot (or not) is in the spotlight at last.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

55: The Tin Woodman

April 25th, 2016

3:53
You know, from "The Wizard of Oz" - If he only had a heart.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

54: T-1000

April 18th, 2016

4:06
"Terminator 2" - It’s made of liquid metal.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

53: Tamagotchi

April 11th, 2016

1:25
Feed me, or I die! - Is it even a game? What if you had a video game that featured a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

52: The Robots of "Destiny"

April 4th, 2016

6:06
"Destiny" - From Bungie’s bestselling video game, Ghosts, Exos, Rasputin, and other things that might be robots.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

51: Lego Simulated Worm Toy

March 28th, 2016

5:59
A software model of a flatworm, piloting a Lego Mindstorms toy.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

50: The Matrix

March 21st, 2016

3:29
Hello, Mr. Anderson. - Agents and Oracles and Architects from the “Matrix” trilogy.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

49: Chatbots

March 14th, 2016

3:12
In IRC, on AOL, and elsewhere - They listen to us and talk back. But is that enough?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

48: Replicants

March 7th, 2016

7:08
"Blade Runner" - Roy Batty, Pris, and all the rest. They’ve seen the Tannhauser Gate, but are they robots?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

47: Thomas and Friends

February 29th, 2016

3:31
Confusion and delay in Sodor - Living rail cars in Sodor.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

46: Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo

February 22nd, 2016

2:04
MST3K bots - The bots from “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

45: Nanobots

February 15th, 2016

6:46
Very tiny machines - Enter the realm of the very, very tiny as John and Jason ponder if size matters when it comes to whether something is a robot or not.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

44: The Internet of Things

February 8th, 2016

2:34
Bruce Schneier's metaphor - Security expert Bruce Schneier said the Internet of Things was a robot, but what does John think? You can probably guess.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

43: Daleks and Cybermen

February 1st, 2016

5:42
Doctor Who monsters - Two enemies wrapped in metal shells from “Doctor Who” face their ultimate foe—the judgment of John Siracusa.

Host John Siracusa …

42: Prince Robot IV

January 25th, 2016

2:27
"Saga" - It’s right there in the name of this character from the acclaimed comic book “Saga,” but as we’ve learned, names can be misleading.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

41: Burritos

January 18th, 2016

1:06
Sandwich or Not? - This one seems to have gotten in by mistake.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

40: Swimming Pool Cleaners

January 11th, 2016

3:28
C-3PO's toaster oven - Things that clean your swimming pool: are they Roombas or just dumb hoses? Also, if a toaster can’t be a robot, can a robot be …

39: Cars (from "Cars")

January 4th, 2016

1:42
So who made the cars? And where are they? - If the cars in Pixar’s “Cars” movies aren’t cars, what are they, and where did they come from?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

38: Podcasts

December 28th, 2015

0:53
Are you listening to a robot? - Just in time for the holidays, some existential questions. Also, could a robot be on a podcast?

Host John Siracusa …

37: Clockwork Droids

December 21st, 2015

3:28
The Reverse Cybog Posit - Doctor Who’s clockwork repair droids (from the episodes “Girl in the Fireplace” and “Deep Breath”) come under scrutiny. Sure, they start out as robots, but do they become something else..?

Host …

36: Iron Man, Ultron, and Vision

December 14th, 2015

4:55
Marvel movie robots or not - From the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and specifically “Iron Man 3” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” deep robot-or-not questions about Iron Man’s suits, Ultron, and the Vision.

Host John …

35: Herbie The Love Bug

December 7th, 2015

2:50
Herbie is full of love - A Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of his own!

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

34: Aperture Science

November 30th, 2015

4:23
Portal and Portal 2 - GlaDOS, Wheatley, turrets, cubes, spheres and more.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

33: Vicki from "Small Wonder"

November 23rd, 2015

2:30
"Small Wonder" - She’s a small wonder, pretty and bright with soft curls. She’s a small wonder, a girl unlike other girls. She’s a miracle, and I grant you She’ll enchant you at her sight. She’s a small wonder, and …

32: Lobot

November 16th, 2015

1:01
...or not - Cloud City’s majordomo from “The Empire Strikes Back” is in the spotlight.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

31: robots.txt

November 9th, 2015

1:58
What's in that Skype window? - It’s right there in the name, but what about the things that connect to it? And what about when Merlin talks about putting things “in the robot”? We need answers, John!

Host John Siracusa …

30: Twiki and Dr. Theopolis

November 2nd, 2015

6:11
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - We take you back to the days of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” to debate the show’s two artificial sidekicks.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

29: Johnny 5

October 26th, 2015

1:47
He's alive! - That little guy from “Short Circuit.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

28: The TARDIS

October 19th, 2015

4:43
They're not built, they're grown - The blue box from “Doctor Who” might be sentient, might be alive, but is it a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

27: V'ger

October 12th, 2015

9:34
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - V’ger and the Ilia probe, both from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. Also, John complains about fake skin on androids.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

26: Cylons

October 5th, 2015

9:59
Battlestar Galactica - The metal robots (and their fleshy successors) from the old and new “Battlestar Galactica.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

25: Home Appliances

September 28th, 2015

3:58
Conceptual toaster questions - What would a toaster have to do in order to be a robot? This episode introduces Siracusa’s Law, which somehow involves …

24: Sasquatch

September 21st, 2015

6:25
The Six Million Dollar Man - The bigfoot/sasquatch from “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

23: Space Probes

September 14th, 2015

3:13
Doubles! - From golf carts on Mars to New Horizons flying past Pluto, these are impressive machines, but are they robots?

Host John Siracusa and …

22: Hitchbot

September 7th, 2015

1:54
Dressed up like a ghost - He tried to hitch his way across the country, but was dismembered in Philadelphia. Image by archier on Flickr.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

21: Droids

August 31st, 2015

6:15
The ethics of Star Wars sentience - Are droids robots? Do they have rights? Is the Empire based on a robo-slave economy?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

20: Pinocchio

August 24th, 2015

4:51
Robots versus magic - Are we seriously talking about magic here?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

19: Marvin the Paranoid Android

August 17th, 2015

2:24
Life... don't talk to me about life - Your plastic pal who’s fun to be with!

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

18: Commander Data

August 11th, 2015

6:00
Androids and Robots - Is an android a robot?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

17: The Terminator

August 3rd, 2015

3:18
I'll be back - I know now why you humans cry.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

16: Siri

July 27th, 2015

0:57
What about Jason's iPhone? - So-called intelligent agents.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

15: The Major

July 20th, 2015

2:24
Human brains, mechanical bodies - From “Ghost in the Shell,” a human brain in a mechanical body. And what about uploaded brains and bodies?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

14: Jaegers

July 13th, 2015

4:14
Big robots with little people inside - Big robots with people inside, as seen in “Shogun Warriors” and “Pacific Rim.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

13: Transformers

July 7th, 2015

3:45
Robots in disguise? - Like the song says.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

12: USS Enterprise

July 2nd, 2015

3:26
Hello, Computer! - The main computer of the USS Enterprise.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

11: KITT

June 29th, 2015

6:26
Knight Rider - The “Knight Rider” car is cool, but is it a robot? What about KITT’s evil twin, KARR? Also, the dark pre-history of Pixar’s “Cars.”

10: ASIMO

June 25th, 2015

2:56
Toy robots - Honda’s ASIMO, Sony’s AIBO, and other cute things that can do The Robot dance. Also, our Radio Shack memories.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

9: Assembly-Line Robots

June 22nd, 2015

3:50
Titans of industry - Look for the union label.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

8: Roomba

June 19th, 2015

3:53
The lowest possible form of robot? - Does a self-guided vacuum cleaner cross John’s minimum bar for a robot? And what does that have to do with ants and dogs?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

7: Telepresence Robots

June 15th, 2015

0:53
Skype isn't a robot - They’re funny, but are they robots?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

6: Self-Driving Cars

June 10th, 2015

5:26
Are they robots or marketing? - Pondering sentient Google cars, Johnny Cab, and autopilots.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

5: Emotions

June 4th, 2015

0:48
Love and other robots - The greatest prog rock album ever made.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

4: K-9

June 2nd, 2015

2:12
Tin dogs - John and Jason try to understand robot dogs. Plus, a trip through old “Doctor Who” episodes.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

3: Darth Vader

May 29th, 2015

2:40
Cyborgs and Sith Lords - Cyborgs and robots and humans—how do we tell these things apart?

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

2: Service Kiosks

May 25th, 2015

4:17
Supermarket self check-out and ATMs - John’s position on supermarket self-checkout machines, Jason’s need for beer when he visits his in-laws, and whether attaching arms to things makes them robots.

Host John Siracusa …

1: Mr. Roboto

May 22nd, 2015

5:11
Domo Arigato - We explain why we’re here, and then discuss the protagonist of Styx’s 1983 album “Kilroy Was Here.”

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

0: Origin

April 7th, 2015

6:47
How it all started. - A flashback to past podcasts, as a way of explaining why this podcast exists.

Host John Siracusa and Jason Snell.

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