We, Robot

Skywalker's Hand, Blade Runners, Iron Man, Slutbots, And How Fiction Became Fact


Book Description

“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.

About Meadows, Mark

Mark Stephen Meadows is an author, inventor, and entrepreneur with over fifteen years' experience in digital media. His previous books include I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life and Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative. The co-inventor of four patents relating to artificial intelligence and virtual worlds, he is also the founder of Echo & Shadow and HeadCase Humanufacturing (both companies that relate to artificial intelligence). Meadows is a respected international lecturer on these subjects, having lectured at numerous research centers around the world, and has also spent time at Xerox-PARC and Stanford Research Institute. He has won awards such as the Ars Electronica Golden Nica and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's highest honors.