Robocop (1987) : Episode 98

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Robocop (1987)

What: Cop dies and evil corporation turns him into a cyborg Robocop. It’s awesome.
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy

Recommended and Related Media

Our Robocop Remake
The whole film is here and the particular scene we mentioned is here. I’m linking instead of embedding because of the graphic nature (so many dicks!).
Watch it Our Robocop Remake

What is the Resolution of the Eye? by Vsauce
Related to our appreciation of the eyeball and the brain that does the work behind it. Embedding instead of linking because it contains no dicks.

Show Notes

Verhoven’s genius

Over-the-top satire. Starship Troopers. Blood and guts in the late 80s/early 90s. Co-ed locker rooms and mocking commercial advertising interludes.

Space Defense

The “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative. Firing weapons from space, orbital platforms, and simulated gravity. Depictions of artificial gravity in media at the time.


Availability of cyborg components and social stratification. Different kinds of artificial hearts.


The economics of the brainwashed cyborg vs pure AI robot. Body transplants vs brain transplants.

Brain-machine interfaces

Opto-neural processing enhancement. Reading visual memories from brain activity.

Machine learning and eyeballs

The resolution of the eye. Simple computer-vision and inadequacy of 1980s VHS tapes.

Robot vs Robot

Cyborg body design type choices. Bipeds descending stairs. Dean Kamen’s stair-climbing gyroscopic wheelchair. (correction: I talked about “tri-wheeled” tread-based wheelchair on the show. The iBot actually had two sets of wheels and I was thinking of other wheelchair designs)


“Stop, citizen, or I will rub my poop-hands on you.” Animal noises and postural intimidation tactics. Safety alarms.

Primary directives

Comparison with Arthur C Clarke’s three laws.

Robocop Aasimov
1. Serve the public trust. 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. Protect the innocent 2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. Uphold the law 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


Your move, creep.

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