Robots are the most powerful blank slate humans have ever created. A robot is a mirror held up not just to its creator, but to our whole species: What we make of the machine reflects what we are. That also means we have the very real opportunity to screw up robots by infusing them with exaggerated, overly simplified gender stereotypes. "I think of it more as a funhouse mirror," says Julie Carpenter, who studies human-robot interaction. "It's very distorted, especially right now when we're still being introduced to the idea of robots, especially real humanoid robots that exist in the world outside of science fiction."