We, Robot: Skywalker's Hand, Blade Runners, Iron Man, Slutbots, and How Fiction Became Fact

Overview

“If you grew up like I did on a steady diet of The Jetsons, The Six Million Dollar Man, Star Wars, and The Terminator, then you’ve been wondering when all your robot fantasies might become true. But unlike promises that every American will own a personal jet pack and hovercraft by now, the proliferation of cyborgs, androids, and avatars is real. With wit and insight, Mark Stephen Meadows separates science fiction from actual fact, navigating the ethically sketchy territory of domestic robots and autonomous ...

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Overview

“If you grew up like I did on a steady diet of The Jetsons, The Six Million Dollar Man, Star Wars, and The Terminator, then you’ve been wondering when all your robot fantasies might become true. But unlike promises that every American will own a personal jet pack and hovercraft by now, the proliferation of cyborgs, androids, and avatars is real. With wit and insight, Mark Stephen Meadows separates science fiction from actual fact, navigating the ethically sketchy territory of domestic robots and autonomous military robots, artificial hands and artificial emotions. We, Robot raises the crucial questions that robot-makers largely ignore. In doing so, it shows us that in our quest to create more and more lifelike robots, we’ve become more robotic ourselves.”

—Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An

Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers,

and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms

 

Examining our favorite science fiction tales to reveal which robots actually exist today—
and what’s coming tomorrow

We, Robot does for robotics what Michio Kaku’s bestselling Physics of the Impossible has done for physics. How close to becoming reality are our favorite science fiction robots? And what might be the real-life consequences of their existence? Robotics and artificial intelligence expert (and science fiction fan) Mark Stephen Meadows answers that question with an irresistible blend of hard science, futurist imagination, solid statistics, pop culture, and plenty of humor.

             

What exists now? Robots strikingly similar to those in The Terminator, The Jetsons, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Meadows reveals robots that hunt humans, walk your dog, tidy up the house, invest your money, and campaign for your favorite political candidate. What will we see in the coming decade? Robots just like the ones in Iron Man, Blade Runner, and Neuromancer. Readers will learn about the near-future robots who dodge bullets, love you, and get hurt when you don’t love them back. What about twenty, thirty, even fifty years from now? Creations like those from Star Wars, The Jetsons, Battlestar Galactica, and Avatar. Prepare your kids and grandkids for robots that have animal brains or animal bodies, rule the world, govern your city, and demand equal rights!

 

Including full-color illustrations of famous science fiction robots, photos of current real robots, and more, We, Robot is a must for fans of both science fiction and science fact, as well as anyone with a touch (or more) of geekiness in their past or their present.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“If you grew up like I did on a steady diet of The Jetsons, The Six Million Dollar Man, Star Wars, and The Terminator, then you’ve been wondering when all your robot fantasies might become true. But unlike promises that every American will own a personal jet pack and hovercraft by now, the proliferation of cyborgs, androids, and avatars is real. With wit and insight, Mark Stephen Meadows separates science fiction from actual fact, navigating the ethically sketchy territory of domestic robots and autonomous military robots, artificial hands and artificial emotions. We, Robot raises the crucial questions that robot-makers largely ignore. In doing so, it shows us that in our quest to create more and more lifelike robots, we’ve become more robotic ourselves.”

—Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms

“[E]ngaging and extensively researched.”

Library Journal

"Deftly balancing pop culture examples and lighthearted references with hard science and numerous glimpses of cutting-edge experimentation in robotics, cybernetics, and AI, We, Robot is half-chronicle of the quest for robotic advancement and half-examination of the increasingly hazy line between machine and man. Peppered throughout with gorgeous photography of projects both unnerving and unbelievable, the book is an impressively thorough tribute to all things robotic.  Awash in footnotes, research, and firsthand interviews and observations from several hotspots of robot, android, and automaton innovation, We, Robot is as up-to-date as it gets, and it's a stunning look at our latest attempts to turn fiction into fact."
- San Francisco Book Review

Library Journal
The title and the text of We, Robot, writer/inventor Meadows's fourth book, are a deliberate homage to sf god Isaac Asimov's I, Robot and his fictional laws of robotics (that prevent harm to humans); laws that, Meadows notes, are now being put into practice. Written as a conversational first-person narrative of the author's trips (principally to Japan and Los Angeles) to see robots, the work is also well researched and footnoted. The chapters are thematic, illustrated by sf film concepts. The first four sections (The Terminator, The Jetsons, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Iron Man) cover current developments, the remaining four chapters (Blade Runner, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Avatar), future trends. More than just a technology book, this work also covers philosophies and ethics surrounding the creation and use of robots. VERDICT An engaging and extensively researched work in a popular tone. It includes some mature language, which may limit it to adult collections, but young adults would enjoy it. Robotics fans and sf heads will go for this.—Sara Tompson, Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599219431
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 12/7/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,467,174
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Stephen Meadows is the author of I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life and Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative. The award-winning co-inventor of four patents relating to artificial intelligence and virtual worlds, he is a respected international lecturer and the founder of Echo & Shadow and HeadCase Humanufacturing—companies involved with artificial intelligence. Visit him at markmeadows.com.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2011

    Cannot Recommend - Dismal Presentation, Layout, and Images

    It's not that the future products - robots - that Meadows is presenting are dull. It's that Meadows presents them as dull.

    We, Robots' presentation, compilation, layout, and images are dull and uninspiring for today's future robotic and computer scientists.

    We need to get youth inspired about this topic - not sleepy, or worse, uncomfortable.

    One prime example: The images that Meadows selects to include to present Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro and his android double are enough to set robotics back years - and frighten away any potential robotics enthusiasts.

    The products and the new technology are all there, and in and of themselves, they are vital and exciting...

    Unfortunately, this book simply does not do them justice - in my opinion.

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