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

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... More

Murder, she hopes

I’ve only known one person who was murdered, and then it was only tangentially.

I never met him while he was alive. He was the son of one of my dad’s friends, and I don’t even remember the circumstances of the crime. I did, however, serve as a pallbearer at his funeral. I do remember that his family was devastated. They’re still deeply saddened by his death to this day.

I think of this every time I watch an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

Most of us don’t know anyone who has been murdered. Most of us have never encountered... More