Hi. I’m David Putney. I do UI/UX, visual design and front-end web development in the Boston area. I specialize in designing and building beautiful and functional media and content-driven websites.

Do Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot have free will?

Five-minute read

When lists of sci-fi artificial intelligence are compiled, the robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000 rarely get their due.

They may seem to be thrown together out of household junk. But their abilities far surpass those of many better-known sci-fi counterparts, such as HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lt. Cmdr. Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation or C-3PO and R2-D2 of the Star Wars franchise.

Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo demonstrate an amazingly sophisticated artificial intelligence, with a vast knowledge base of human culture and history and the ability to replicate complex emotional responses. They understand humor and both have a sharp, sarcastic wit. They are able to watch video and quickly process the content and respond with insightful, often humorous comments, not just preprogrammed responses.

They are capable of love, sadness, jealousy, anger – the whole range of human emotions. It’s clear they can actually think. They, to put it simply, depict an amazing achievement in the...