Automation: Roll Out!

At the heart of the US-Japanese franchise Transformers is a tension between visions of robotics as liberation and as enslavement.

(Yamada Hitoshi / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images)

For many Generation Xers, watching an old toy commercial on YouTube for a beloved childhood franchise like Transformers provides a sugary rush of nostalgia. But look a little closer at those ads and you’ll find that the “robots in disguise” were the harbingers of all kinds of Reaganite doom and dread, packaged in laser-outlined, high-tech […]

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