5 Machines We Wish Were Alive and 5 That Shouldn't Be

Our new novel, The First Book of Ore: The Foundry's Edge (Disney Hyperion; April 15th) takes place in a world of living metal and organic machines. Which kind of got us thinking:

Maybe as we stumble drunkenly through the digital age and rocket towards the moment when artificial intelligence surpasses us and gives humanity one hell of a backhand, we should take a moment to reflect on the machines we have already created. Some of them are crude technological training wheels, others are staggeringly advanced, but we can't help but feel most of them have personalities -- dare we say, "souls." Does your trash compactor have opinions about the dinner you are tossing down its gullet? Does your laptop think you are stupid? (If you answer "Yes" to either of those, please seek help) It got us wondering--which machines would we be curious to see come to life? And which ones are we glad remain entirely under our control?

5 Alive

#5 - Volkswagon Beetle: Always the paragon of cuteness, we would love to hear what the love bug would say. Maybe it's just because of Herbie Goes Bananas.

#4 - Roomba: Just add a little fur, and it would be like having a pet dog, only instead of making a mess, this puppy would clean it up.

#3 - Pitching Machine: Didn't get enough attention from your ol' pa? Here's a happy machine that's always eager to go outside and play catch. We just have to teach it to give hugs and become very disappointed in your life choices.

#2 - Compressorhead: If ever there was a group of machines that deserved to be alive, it would be this robot heavy-metal band. After a two AM encore of "Iron Man," we want to see them puke motor oil, stage dive, and pick up some groupies.

#1 - Smart Phone: Imagine a phone that talks you out of drunk-dialing your ex, automatically deletes that embarrassing photo of you in the adult diaper, and doesn't auto-correct your texts to make you look illiterate or insane. Scarlett Johanson attachments sold separately.

5 To Disassemble (or "Dear Lord, what have we done?!?")

#5 - Scale: If our job was to just sit there and get stomped on from time to time, we wouldn't be interested in bolstering your confidence and telling you those skinny jeans still look good on you. Therefore, let's keep these guys where they belong. NOT alive.

#4 - Big Dog: Famous for totally freaking out the world, this piece of military robot technology needs to remain non-sentient. Assuming that it still is.

#3 - Endoscope: You know that friend of yours who is always going on and on about how much his job sucks? Well, meet the snaky thing that goes in your you-know-what when you get a colonoscopy. Aren't you glad he can't sidle up to the bar and tell you about his day?

#2 - "Unicron - Eater of Planets": Uh, this one should be self explanatory.

#1 - Large Hadron Collider: A revolutionary achievement in modern physics, we'd really like for the LHC to remain in the hands of its keepers. The last thing we need is some giant Stargate looking, Skynet mofo on a power-drunk rampage, magicking up black holes and super-colliding tequila bottles.