By RazzaTazz 1 Comments
I have been over this issue a couple of times before, that there is a difference between hard science fiction and soft science fiction. Hard science fiction is something like the batsuit or even something like the movie 2001 could be regarded as hard science fiction, as it came before any man stepped on the moon, and that it fairly accurately depicted many aspects of space travel (maybe not the self aware super computer HAL though.) Soft science is more in the realm of Transformers, the Starship Enterprise, lightsabers and cosmic rods. These devices work just because they do, there is no real science at all behind them other than the fact they are either of high scientific or high technology. There are a few things which lie on the borderline between the two areas, things which aren't possible now, but some day might be - a space elevator, a Dyson sphere, terraforming other planets.
For those that don't know (and there should be very few because I tell everyone) I have been reading quite a few golden age Wonder Woman issues. There are quite a few recurring plots - Wonder Woman traveling to other planets, Wonder Woman trying to convince someone she and Diana Prince are not the same person, a series of challenges or contests for whatever ridiculous reason. Sometimes as the main plot device and sometimes as the solution to the plot, there are often robot impersonator who show up. This is a plot device not restricted to Wonder Woman but was common throughout the golden age (and even beyond - the last realistic android I remember was one in Legends which Chronos designed.) Robots though are not nearly as simple to create as comic book writers give them credit for. Recently robot designers have figured out how to make a robot simulate human movement, but still they are not so good on non-level ground. Artificial intelligence is still only a pipe dream (though interestingly enough, there are computer programs which have been around a long time which will fool humans into thinking they are conversing with a real human.) As Reese said in Terminator, the first androids created by the cyborgs were easy to spot because of their plastic skin. We are not even close to having something as developed that has rudimentary plastic skin mixed with realistic movement yet.
I guess all of this is to say that androids still belong firmly in the realm of pure soft science fiction, though in a world which has cosmic rods and green power ings, maybe the Vision, Robotman and Red Tornado are pretty realistic in comparison.