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Thursday, August 24, 2017

What is a Robot?

New series of article in Wired:  What is a Robot?   Articles and videos.

Editor’s note: This is the first entry in a new video series, HardWIRED: Welcome to the Robotic Future, in which we explore the many fascinating machines that are transforming society. And we can’t do that without first defining what a robot even is.

When you hear the word “robot,” the first thing that probably comes to mind is a silvery humanoid, à la The Day the Earth Stood Still or C-3PO (more golden, I guess, but still metallic). But there’s also the Roomba, and autonomous drones, and technically also self-driving cars. A robot can be a lot of things these days―and this is just the beginning of their proliferation.

With so many different kinds of robots, how do you define what one is? It's a physical thing―engineers agree on that, at least. But ask three different roboticists to define a robot and you’ll get three different answers. This isn't a trivial semantic conundrum: Thinking about what a robot really is has implications for how humanity deals with the unfolding robo-revolution. ... " 

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