Athena Student Intern
If you had a robot that
could do anything for you, what would it do? Would it serve you
ice cold lemonade in the summer and mow your lawn? Would it do your
homework or taxes for you? Maybe you are too tired from work, so
you need someone to walk the dog for you. The idea of robots is
a fascinating thought. If it weren’t, why would we have The
Terminator or C3-PO? How would the Robinson family have survived
being Lost in Space if it was not for the friendship of a boy and
his robot science project?
Movies are an influential
part of our life. They keep us focused on the joys and sorrows of
on-screen characters for a couple of hours and have us talking about
the experience for hours more. And starring in many Hollywood blockbusters
are the robots of the future, our ideas and imaginations at work.
The following is a list of some of the movies we know that have
the Earth Stood Still (1951)
A Space Odyssey (1968)
Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Short Circuit 2 (1988)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Unfortunately for us,
that’s all those robots are. Our imagination. But what if
they could really exist?
Look around you. A robot
is defined as any device that can move on its own. Did you ever
play with Hot Wheels or maybe even a remote controlled plane? Robots
are already all around us, some of them more complex than others
are. None of them, however, are anywhere remotely close to the creations
we see trying to harvest humanity for energy in The Matrix. This
is because of A.I. Artificial intelligence.
Here’s a little
history lesson for you:
Robot was coined by Czech
playwright Karl Capek in his play R.U.R (Rossum's Universal Robots),
which opened in Prague in 1921. Robota is the Czech word for forced
The term robotics was
introduced by writer Isaac Asimov. In his science fiction book I,
Robot, published in 1950, he presented three laws of robotics:
1. A robot may not
injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being
to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except
where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection
does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
John McCarthy first coined
the term A.I. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
in 1956. Today MIT continues to be one of the world leaders in A.I.
Scientists all over the
world are working on developing A.I. There are already computers
out there that can beat even the best person at a game of chess.
I have a hard enough time beating my friends, let alone a fast-thinking
Someday robots could
sweep your kitchen or take out the trash, but robots today are too
clumsy to perform our everyday household chores. So instead, they
are used in factories and in highly dangerous situations where humans
could get hurt, like cleaning up toxic wastes. That doesn’t
mean we can’t still imagine all the possibilities robots could
have in the future. So buy yourself a ticket, grab a tub of popcorn
and a soda, and start imagining.
If you are interested
in learning more about robots and A.I., you can check out the following
websites for more information:
Artificial Intelligence Lab
Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
Francisco Robotics Society of America (SFRSA)
- Robot news and Robotics Info
Tech Museum: Robotics: Sensing, Thinking, Acting
Webopedia. 10 Feb. 2004.
Jupitermedia Corporation. 5 Aug. 2004
Webopedia. 10 Feb. 2000.
Jupitermedia Corporation. 5 Aug. 2004
101science.com. 5 Aug.