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Robot Futures
     

Robot Futures

by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh
 

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With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital. The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking, talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhuman abilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in our physical spaces,

Overview

With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital. The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking, talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhuman abilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in our physical spaces, with the ability to go where we cannot, and will have minds of their own, thanks to artificial intelligence. In Robot Futures, the roboticist Illah Reza Nourbakhsh considers how we will share our world with these creatures, and how our society could change as it incorporates a race of stronger, smarter beings.Nourbakhsh imagines a future that includes adbots offering interactive custom messaging; robotic flying toys that operate by means of "gaze tracking"; robot-enabled multimodal, multicontinental telepresence; and even a way that nanorobots could allow us to assume different physical forms. Nourbakhsh examines the underlying technology and the social consequences of each scenario. He also offers a counter-vision: a robotics designed to create civic and community empowerment. His book helps us understand why that is the robot future we should try to bring about.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Robotics professor Nourbakhsh (Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots) shares his vision of a future in which robotic technology will revolutionize the way humans communicate, collect data, complete tasks, and practice medicine. "Robotic technologies are the living glue connecting the physical and digital all around us." While current applications of robotics are highlighted, such as urban search and rescue robotics, the possibilities that may take form in the coming decades are the focus of this brief discourse. This "technological empowerment" will benefit corporations, militaries, and governments as well as individuals—with the possible drawback that "humans will be inferior to robots in some ways." Each chapter in Nourbakhsh's discussion of current technologies begins with an illustrative, fictional story, narrating a future event of this century. He explores the robotic concepts of perception and cognition, the ethics of robotics and the possibility that they could impact human relations, and the responsibilities that lie with researchers and funding institutions. Urging that these technologies include the needs of citizens and communities, Nourbakhsh recommends review of current curricula to include humanist concerns. Concise and illuminating with few detours into engineering-speak, this book will interest a broad technology-minded audience, from future scientists to data analysts to entrepreneurs. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"The best parts of the book are the crazy scenarios Nourbakhsh comes up with — like malfunctioning eye-controlled toy helicopters and robot-enabled infidelity. His preference for a future in which robots are employed to serve communities, not individuals or corporations, is innovative — if less fun than the nightmare robots that populate his chapters." — Slate

"In robotics, there is a fine line between science fiction and science fact. Illah Reza Nourbakhsh turns out to be a master of straddling that line. In this accessible, smart book, he suggests how plausible robot futures could change our lives." — George Annas, New Scientist

"Concise and illuminating with few detours into engineering-speak, this book will interest a broad technology-minded audience, from future scientists to data analysts to entrepreneurs." — Publishers Weekly

Slate
The best parts of the book are the crazy scenarios Nourbakhsh comes up with — like malfunctioning eye-controlled toy helicopters and robot-enabled infidelity. His preference for a future in which robots are employed to serve communities, not individuals or corporations, is innovative — if less fun than the nightmare robots that populate his chapters.

New Scientist - George Annas
In robotics, there is a fine line between science fiction and science fact. Illah Reza Nourbakhsh turns out to be a master of straddling that line. In this accessible, smart book, he suggests how plausible robot futures could change our lives.

Library Journal
04/01/2015
This slim volume extrapolates from the present day to various hypothetical future scenarios with respect to the pace of robotic technological development and its societal repercussions. Nourbakhsh is professor of robotics and head of the Robotics Masters Program at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, so he knows robots.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262313193
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
203 KB

What People are Saying About This

George A. Bekey
Robot Futures is a highly imaginative view of the ways robotics may change both our technology and our view of ourselves. Every chapter begins with a fictional but plausible future scenario involving human/robot interaction. Anyone concerned with the potential impact of robotics on society and human relationships should read this book.

From the Publisher
" Robot Futures is a highly imaginative view of the ways robotics may change both our technology and our view of ourselves. Every chapter begins with a fictional but plausible future scenario involving human/robot interaction. Anyone concerned with the potential impact of robotics on society and human relationships should read this book." — George A. Bekey,Computer Science Department, University of Southern California; author of Autonomous Robots

"An exhilarating dash into the future of robotics from a scholar with the enthusiasm of a bag of monkeys. It is gripping from the start with little sci-fi stories in each chapter punching home points backed up forcefully by factual reality. This is an entertaining tour de force that will appeal to anyone with an interest in robots." — Noel Sharkey, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, University of Sheffield

Noel Sharkey
An exhilarating dash into the future of robotics from a scholar with the enthusiasm of a bag of monkeys. It is gripping from the start with little sci-fi stories in each chapter punching home points backed up forcefully by factual reality. This is an entertaining tour de force that will appeal to anyone with an interest in robots.

Meet the Author

Illah Reza Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also directs the Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab.

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