The Coming Robot Revolution: Expectations and Fears About Emerging Intelligent, Humanlike Machines

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Springer Science & Business Media, Apr 20, 2009 - Technology & Engineering - 173 pages
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Making a robot that looks and behaves like a human being has been the subject of many popular science fiction movies and books. Although the development of such a robot facesmanychallenges,themakingofavirtualhumanhaslongbeenpotentiallypossible. With recent advances in various key technologies related to hardware and software, the making of humanlike robots is increasingly becoming an engineering reality. Development of the required hardware that can perform humanlike functions in a lifelike manner has benefitted greatly from development in such technologies as biologically inspired materials, artificial intelligence, artificial vision, and many others. Producing a humanlike robot that makes body and facial expressions, communicates verbally using extensive vocabulary, and interprets speech with high accuracy is ext- mely complicated to engineer. Advances in voice recognition and speech synthesis are increasingly improving communication capabilities. In our daily life we encounter such innovations when we call the telephone operators of most companies today. As robotics technology continues to improve we are approaching the point where, on seeing such a robot, we will respond with ‘‘Wow, this robot looks unbelievably real!’’ just like the reaction to an artificial flower. The accelerating pace of advances in related fields suggests that the emergence of humanlike robots that become part of our daily life seems to be imminent. These robots are expected to raise ethical concerns and may also raise many complex questions related to their interaction with humans.

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About the author (2009)

Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen is a Senior Scientist and Group Supervisor at the Jet Propulsion Lab [], NASA/Caltech, specializing in electroactive materials and devices as well as biomimetic mechanisms. Famous for his pivotal role in artificial muscles, many news articles describe him as the "artificial muscle" man and per Business week he is one of five technology gurus who are "Pushing Tech's Boundaries". Dr. Bar-Cohen received his Ph. D. in physics (1979) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Some of his notable discoveries include the leaky Lamb waves (LLW) and polar backscattering (PBS) phenomena in composite materials. He (co)authored over 300 publications, made numerous presentations at national and international conferences, (co)chaired 37 conferences, has 19-registered patents and he is the (co)editor of 4 books with the topics that include artificial muscles, biologically inspired robots and biomimetics. He is the initiator of the SPIE Conf. on electroactive polymers (EAP), chairing it since 1999. He challenged wrestling match between an arm driven by EAP and human and held contents in 2005 and 2006. Dr. Bar-Cohen’s research and accomplishments with his teams received extensive media coverage including journals, magazines, radio and TV interviews as well as internet coverage in many thousands of websites []. His scientific, engineering and technology accomplishments have earned him Fellow of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), since 1996, and The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), since 2002. Also, he is the recipient of two NASA Honor Award Medals - NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (2001), and NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement (2006), two SPIE’s Lifetime Achievement Awards – NDE (2001) and Smart Materials and Structures (2005), the 2006 ASNT Sustained Excellence award the 2007 SPIE President’s Award as well as many other honors and awards. Further information is available at

Dr. David Hanson is the founder and Chairman/CEO of Hanson Robotics. He is an Artist/scientist who creates realistic humanoid robots (a.k.a. androids), which are noted for being conversationally intelligent, energy efficient, and designed as novel works of character art/animation. In 2005, the low-power mobility of Hanson's robots was demonstrated within the world's first expressive walking humanoid, an Einstein portrait called "Albert Hubo," appearing on the cover of WIRED magazine, Jan. 2006. Hanson’s patented Frubber (Flesh-rubber) material makes this low-power mobility possible. In addition to hardware innovations, Hanson and his company (Hanson Robotics Inc., are known for developing increasingly intelligent conversational personas, integrating many forms of artificial intelligence (AI) including speech recognition software, natural language processing, computer vision, and Hanson's own AI systems to hold naturalistic conversations. In 2005 Hanson and his team received an AAAI award for the intelligent conversational portrait of Philip K Dick [AI Magazine, fall 2005]. By simulating the integrated conversational human, such robots enable design studies of general intelligence in machines, paving a continuum toward true machine sentience over coming years. Hanson's robots have been extensively covered in the news media, including in the NY Times, Ubiquity, WIRED, Popular Mechanics, the Science Channel, Popular Science, the Discovery Channel, and many other media venues. Hanson has received awards in both art and engineering, including Cooper Hewwit Triennial award, National Science Foundation STTR award, and a TX Emerging Technologies Award. Hanson received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1996, and his PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2007.


Ms. Adi Marom is a designer/artist with a Masters of Design Engineering from The University of Tokyo, Japan (2005) and a BA Design from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel (1999). Her work experience includes working at the New York based Hoberman Associates - Transformable Design studio; the Tokyo based studio Landscape Products; as well as the Tel-Aviv based Studio de Lange. Ms. Marom’s multidisciplinary practice includes graphic and product design. In this creative framework, she specialized in the design of innovative kinetic products based on folding mechanisms. Ms. Marom’s Masters studies focused on the field of Biomimetics and addressed the challenge of applying natural deployable structures into man made objects. For instance, she applied the mechanical properties of carnivorous plants’ traps in the design of artificial autonomous pets - sustainable by trapping organic substrates. Ms. Marom’s designs have been featured in tradeshows and exhibitions around the world, garnering her international awards and media publications. Her designs have been exhibited at Milan's international furniture show "Salone International Del Mobile" (Italy 2001); the traveling exhibition "Domains - Contemporary Israeli Design Exhibition" (Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Australia 2002-2004), and "The Tokyo International Gift Show" (Japan 2005). Her works have been featured in international magazines such as Casa Brutus (Japan 2002); Binyan Ve Diyur (Israel 2004); Joong Ang Daily (Korea 2003). In addition, her illustrations were featured in the book "Biomimetics: Biologically-Inspired Technologies" by Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen (Ed.), CRC Press, November 2005.

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