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We, Robot: Skywalker's Hand, Blade Runners, Iron Man, Slutbots, And How Fiction Became Fact Paperback – December 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599219433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599219431
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,399,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kim Pallister on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
We, Robot is a rather unique look at our progress in robotics. The book looks at a number of famous Sci-fi robots, from The Jetson's Rosie to the Terminator T-1000 to Avatar's avatars. He then compares them to progress of different projects in the robotics world, asking how close we've come to the original sci-fi vision, and of what differs, why.

It's a fun tour of some of the field's better poster-bot/children, and the interviews with some of their creators are quite interesting.

The real gold for me though, was in some of the conjecture and philosophizing that Meadows does in considering implications of robotics near future. This is especially true when looking at the borders between hardware and software which he sees little distinction. I'm of the same school of thought, but it's surprising how many people deem them completely different.

For example, when considering the implications of privacy and giving one's personal information up to 'trusted' parties, he asks us to consider whether we'd accept a "Rosie"-like robot from Google, provided for free, if in exchange we understood that it would mill about the house in spare time, learning about our personal habits and behavior and such. Is this really so different than G-mail? Really, it's not, when you think about it.

There are a lot of great nuggets of food for thought along these lines. I found myself dog-earing the corners of a lot of pages with the intent of going back to think about more deeply.

At this year's CES, I saw a surprising number of toys and gadgets blurring the lines between digital and physical worlds. Robots will be one of the conduits between those spaces sooner than we think. This book is a good tour of both the state of the art, as well as a tour of some of the unanswered questions.
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