Replicants from Blade Runner
The androids of Ridley Scott’s most successful commercial failure, Blade Runner, are designed to be almost more human than human. So it’s no surprise that they display all the traits that define us: fear, lust, violence and existential crisis. Yet in their flaws we get a glimpse of what it means to be alive, how the quest for purpose drives our short existence in a chaotic and irrational world.
Engineered to live fast and die young, the replicants attempt to meet their maker in order to extend their lives. What’s more human than the fear of death? And as Roy Batty, the lead replicant breaks down, he saves the life of the human who is hunting him, before coming to terms with mortality. So much EQ that he makes us cry tears… in the rain.
Alright, let's settle one thing. We don’t care that the Transformers came from outer-space. The original tag-line was and will always be “Robots-in-DISGUISE”, so there. Made of kinda-metal? Check. Powered by an unknown electricity-like energy? Check. See, robots- so you fussy pedants can stuff it.
That being said, the most emotional of the Transformers has to be Optimus Prime. In fact, he’s got so much EQ that he’s constantly (and illogically) defending a species of meatbags (us) from other Transformers while trying to restore their homeworld, the very place he came from. Since it’s a proven fact that humans will destroy whole civilizations and cultures to prove a point less important than restoring a planet, we think that qualifies him as an EQ doctorate candidate.
Sonny from I.Robot
That’s right, your friendly iRobot roomba vacuum cleaner has a conscience and has more EQ than you...wait, sorry we read that wrong. Before they were cleaning your household or ferrying your cat around, the automatons of iRobots were… also cleaning your household. They also happened to walk your mother, wash your car, mow your lawn - oh, and also enslave humanity for the sake of human survival.
That’s why it came down to one thinking and feeling robot created to defy logic, named Sonny, to help save humankind from enslavement. Okay, so he killed his creator, but that’s what he was programmed to do! Plus he felt bad about it in the end, so we definitely accord Sonny the EQ badge of merit.
Johnny 5 from Short Circuit
Remember the original 80’s robot buddy you wished you had? Whose shape Wall-E seemed to have ripped off? That’s right, it’s Johnny 5 from Short Circuit! Um… you know, the movie? It even had a sequel? It’s okay, we kind of forgot too. The original family friendly robot that humans were trying to steal, disassemble and kill, Johnny 5 was an honest-to-goodness, ugly-as-crap concoction of DIY electronic shop parts with a heart of gold.
In between its attempts to fix its owner’s love life, it also found time to stop crime by chasing down and whupping the asses of the thugs who ruthlessly mangled it. Although at most a somewhat technically-gifted bumbling simpleton, Johnny 5’s optimism and naive generosity make it a shoo-in for our high EQ robots list.