Robots and Religion

Religion and Robots2Could prominent cultural beliefs affect the way nations are building their machines?

The robots being built around the world seem to be as diverse as the cultures they come from. While some have been engineered solely for people’s practical needs, others have been made to appeal to and keep the company of humans.
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Europe supports more research on robotics and the law

The two year European project  ROBOLAW (Regulating Emerging Robotic Technologies in Europe: Robotics facing Law and Ethics) is scheduled to start in March of this year.

The main goal of this project will be to provide the European Commission with a  “White Book on Regulating Robotics”. Essentially, this will be a set of guidelines which will contribute to the future establishment of  a solid framework of ‘robolaw’ in Europe.

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Meet the Mask-bot

it’s more than just a pretty face…

At first glance it’s a generic plastic mask fixed in front of a projector. Switch it on and you’re looking at the most realistic ¨talking head¨ yet. Researchers from the Institute of Cognitive Systems (ICS) at the Technische University in Munich have collaborated with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan (AIST) to create a life-sized talking head, the Mask-bot.
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Robot Companions for Citizens

An introduction to one of the FET Flagships

The video above was presented by the Robot Companion for Citizens Flagship Initiative at a conference in Warsaw at the end of November. Robot Companions for Citizens is currently one of 6 research initiatives in the running to receive 1 billion euros funding from the European Commission over the next 10 years.
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A Robot's Bedside Manner

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology discuss their research on a robot’s touch.

How can we make robots safe?  How can we make them perform their tasks effectively? Although these are among the most critical questions today’s robot engineers must address, recently, researchers have felt the need to delve further into some of the issues pertaining to the use of medical robots.  For example, what types of robot-human interaction are people comfortable with, how do we make robots communicate their intentions, and  how will people perceive them?

Can we Love Robots?

MIT professor Sherry Turkle says no but she’s intrigued about some of the deep and meaningful emotions they can provoke in humans.

Turkle stresses that although we are still very far from the point where robots are indistinguishable from humans- as in the movie Blade Runner, based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?- humans are capable of forming attachments to robots. During the interview Turkle discusses some of the issues raised through her studies with Cynthia Breazeal, founder and director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab.
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Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Robot?

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster (1931)

Our apprehension to artificial beings

The term robot was originally used in Karel Čapek’s 1921 play  RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots). However, the concept of a being or machine  akin to today’s conception of a robot is something that goes back much further.

The notion of artificial beings is present throughout history in diverse methodologies.  In some they are portrayed as human servants, in others as divine creatures.  How are robots portrayed today?

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov introduced the three rules of robotics in his 1942 short story Runaround.
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