What does a robot look like?


This is a question I often ask my students. Typically they say a robot looks like this:

C-3PO is a gold coloured, human shaped robot.

Or this:

The Terminator is a terrifying metal skeleton with glowing red eyes.

Broadly human, but mostly metal.

Occasionally, I get non anthropocentric answers like this mule:

Bio-inspired Big Dog quadruped robot is being developed as a mule that can traverse difficult terrain.tiff

Or even something stark and industrial like this:
FANUC 6-axis welding robots.jpg

One is experimental, the other is rarely seen in day-to-day life.

The truth is, we're surrounded by robots. This is what a robot looks like:

Worn ATM.jpg

Vending machines at hospital.jpg

Photobooth in Bicester 2001.JPG

Each of these robots has "stolen" a job from a human. Multiple humans, probably.

I'm old enough to remember when a tea lady would push a trolley around an office and sell the workers snacks and hot drinks. Nowadays, there's a machine to pour out a coffee and another one to dispense chocolates.

You see them every day and you treat them as part of the furniture.

Just as a car is not a horseless carriage, robots are not metal men.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.