Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Robots in Different Cultures

I've been listening to the robotics podcasts on Talking Robots. Dario Floreano spent about 2 years until August 2008 interviewing top researchers in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. The podcast archive is a gold mine of information for someone wanting to get a leg up on what the current trends are in the field. One theme mentioned in several interviews is the different levels of acceptance of robots by the general public in different countries. One interviewee, I wish I could remember who, summed it up by saying "The Japanese embrace robots in their daily life, Americans are afraid robots will take control of their lives, and Europeans think robots will take their jobs." I guess for my part I hope to dispell my students' fear of robots taking over by teaching them that robots are only ever doing what they've been told to do. The key is understanding what that is. Then you know what you're dealing with.

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