Originally posted by reverend:
"Bite my shiny metal ass" wouldn't sound as good if he were human.
But it was Cubert's best line ever!
Anyway, Bender is a more believable robot than Asimov's robots. Building an intelligent mind up from rules has turned out to be much harder than anyone expected in the 1950's; it looks like the simplest way to do it is to take a complex neural network and train it to emulate a human. In which case there will be no way to enforce strict laws of robotics--or to avoid the same vices of humanity from appearing in our robots.
And it will probably work much better to do this through bootstrapping--painstaking years of work creates a first-level AI, which then creates the improved version, and so on. So humans may have very little of the direct control over robots that Asimov envisioned.
Of course a thousand years of neural network technology, chaos theory, and so on will probably change all of that (which is why Bender would jump off a bridge if he were programmed to...).
Most of the time, Bender is closer to a realistic robot for 2050 or even 2020, not 3000--but hey, destroy the world a few times and it tends to set back progress a little.
Asimov didn't suck, but you have to rememeber that he was writing before the computer industry--and before a decent interpretation of quantum physics, and before deconstructionism, and before futureshock, and so on--in short, before so many of the social and scientific ideas that we take for granted today. So we already know today that all of his ideas about the future were wrong, while we won't know for sure that, say, Sterling and Stephenson were wrong until maybe 2010. Does that make them better writers?
On the other hand, he did have a serious problem with female characters, other than the Margaret Thatcher type.