Homeless robot begs for energy

Pawel Hynek's 2006 image "Obsolete" depicts a homeless robot begging for electrical power; it's striking and funny as well as a little uncomfortable-making. It reminds me of one of the most demented scenes in science fiction history: the moment in Ian McDonald's stupendous novel The Broken Land in which a re-animated severed head is reduced to performing sexual favors on a street-corner in exchange for nutrient bath to fill the shallow dish in which its neck-stump rests.

Obsolete (via JWZ)


  1. shouldn’t there be a shipping box on the ground for dropping batteries into? :-)

  2. Hopefully this post will show up fast so I can be the first buzzkill. This really seems insensitive to those struggling with homelessness.

  3. The sergeant-stripe stencil makes this a potent argument for supporting our veteran milbots!

  4. Ah, CGsociety… making me feel terrible about my relative lack of 3d design skills since I found out about it ;_;

  5. On the Internet, we’ve long since had robots whose job is to reach out to people and convince them to spend money, often through trickery. Spam emails were just the beginning, as I found out when I arrived at a computer and discovered that a robot had molested me over AOL Instant Messenger while I was away, having played an entire script to an empty chair.

    It makes me worry for the day that robotics become good enough to allow harassment droids to be unleashed into public spaces, or language processing becomes good enough for Internet spambots to evolve into personalized long cons.

    1. You beat me too it.

      You know . . . how can I put this? It is not inconcievable that someone in the Golden Age of Television could have thought up that basic idea, but they would have needed 30 minutes to convey the setting and the pathos that that effortlessly tossed-off gag did in 30 seconds.

  6. Of course, one might hope that this image might make people think about the other ‘helpless and hopeless’ PEOPLE out there on the street right now.

    Not funny, I know!

  7. If you give a robot a battery, you power him for a day. If you give him a solar panel, you power him for life.
    I’m not sure how to apply the same moral to people, though.

  8. Ah, PetMan, you always knew all that talk about ‘armored limbs’ and post-deployment aid was nothing but lies…

    And the Captcha is: accept rdLeg. Spooky.

  9. someone decided to show pity and stuck robots hand into the outlet. Energy overload resulted in injury and the hand had to be amputated

  10. I wasn’t too creeped out until I read the text below and the image there will probably haunt and disturb me far longer.

  11. Alan Moore had an extended metaphor in his comic series Top 10 in which robots (called “clickers” by the prejudiced, although they preferred the term “Ferrous-Americans”) were discriminated against in Neopolis, the city where everyone was a superhero. I’d swear that there was at least one panel very similar to this.

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