"Them, Robot" is the seventeenth episode of Season 23.
Mr. Burns replaces all of Springfield Power Plant's employees with robots but plans to keep Homer as the sole human worker. With unemployment at an all-time high and mechanical arms operating the workplace, Springfield becomes a dismal and humorless place. But when Homer's machine-programmed peers start to turn on the community and his former real-life fellow employees come to the rescue, they all realize that robots can't replace human friends. This episode is a parody of the movie I, Robot.
After Mr. Burns' lawyer tells him that drug tests for the plant workers are costing him money, Smithers comes up with an idea to replace the employees with robots in order to cut costs. Burns fires all of his employees during a meeting introducing the new robot workers, but Smithers insists that Burns hire one human worker for maintenance and as a possible scapegoat. Homer becomes the lucky employee to still be hired after bursting into Burns' office to thank him for the years of service and make a face at him for being cruel to his fellow man. With everyone at the plant fired, the town suffers from a 99% unemployment rate and Homer tries to connect with the robots (only to be electroshocked by one who does not understand his "Working hard or hardly working?" joke).
Homer steals Burns' robot manual in order to change the robot workers' personalities and give them human emotions, and play baseball with him and Bart. During the baseball game, one robot hits the ball out of bounds, and Homer runs backwards to try to catch it, not noticing that there is a truck behind him. A robot saves his life by walking in front of the truck, before several more robots walk onto the road in front of oncoming cars and trucks. That night, all the destroyed robots are burned in a massive fire in the Simpsons' backyard. Afterwards, a robot takes away Homer's beer can, stating that their prime objective is to protect humans as seen in the Three Laws of Robotics, and that alcohol is bad for human health. Annoyed by this, Homer borrows Flanders' drill and gives them "robot lobotomies," but after a technical glitch, their new objective becomes killing Homer.
Homer runs to Burns' mansion, seeking help, but Burns makes matters worse when he releases his hounds on the robots, and one robot swipes one of the hounds away into the distance with ease. The other hounds back off in fear, and Mr. Burns insults them. Slighted, the hounds become angry at Burns and join the robots in chasing after Burns and Homer, who hide inside Mr. Burns' greenhouse. Just as the two think they are safe, the robots burst in and approach them ominously, but are saved by the unemployed and underemployed citizens of Springfield. Burns rehires all the employees as temps. In the end, Homer rebuilds one of the robots and takes it on a fishing trip, but the robot becomes sick of Homer and self-destructs itself.
Mr. Burns and Homer run from the dogs and the killer robots.