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The five best friendly robots in pop culture, from Wall-E to R2-D2

The always helpful C-3PO.
The always helpful C-3PO.

From HAL to the Terminator, robots in fiction play the part of the bad guy more often than not. Here in the real world, though, robots do some good work, and very little evil. You can get a taste of some of that good work this Sunday, April 13 at Robotics at the Hangar at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, where robotics clubs and companies will show off the latest and greatest in robot tech. To gear up for the show, we offer this look at five of film and television's benevolent, friendly and useful automatons as a reminder that, even in fiction, robots can be good people, too.

See also: The six best onscreen pairings of robots and the apocalypse

The five best friendly robots in pop culture, from Wall-E to R2-D2

5) Wall-E Wall-E should basically be the poster child for positive human-robot relations. He's cute! He takes care of the fat, useless dregs of humanity, despite the fact that they in no way deserve it. He falls in love, or whatever passes it for it among the mechanoids. And hell, he saves us all from certain doom and brings us back to Earth for another chance at making the place livable. Not bad for a waste compactor.

The five best friendly robots in pop culture, from Wall-E to R2-D2

4) GERTY GERTY, from Duncan Jones's Moon, is kind of like HAL's less psychotic kid brother. On the one hand, it may be weird to call an AI tasked with keeping cloned slave labor ignorant of the reality of their situation friendly, but on the other, it was GERTY that kept the Sam clones sane and ultimately told them what was up and even suggested a way to stop the whole thing. Would HAL have done that? No, HAL would have shoved the questioning Sam out an airlock, woken up a new one and gone on its merry way, singing "Daisy" all the way. We'll take GERTY over HAL for all of our long-term space companionship needs, thanks.

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