Alex Remington: Beyond Human: An Exploration of the Human Future of Robotics, Long on Sci-Fi but Short on Sci-Fact
I recently reviewed Almost Human, a book that followed the Carnegie Mellon robotics department’s frequent frustration with building robots in the present day. Gregory Benford and Elisabeth Malartre’s Beyond Human: Living with Robots and Cyborgs muses about the future, quoting futurists and science fiction and reasoning through thought experiments. But they don’t ever explain exactly how we’ll bridge the gap between the current state of “almost human” to the imagined state of “beyond human.” It’s a fun, breezy read, but because it’s so heavily reliant on quoting the work of fiction writers to evoke our possible future, it’s hard to take it seriously.
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Aren’t we already suppose to be surrounded by robots that do our dirty work? It’s 2010, we’re already in the land of science fiction, at least as sci-fi books would have it. So where are all these gadgets and flying cars? I want my my Rosie! How long do you think it will be before we actually have robots in our homes?