Growing Up With Robots

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I'm not really sure what expectations, if any, I had for the presence of robots in my life. Certainly the ever smaller nature of electronics has accomplished much of what a robot might have done, but as a kid, there was a fair sense of utility and even companionship that was suggested by the notion of a robot.

Let's review!

Robby the Robot, from "Forbidden Planet." A dork of a robot, but it's a start.

Rosie, from "The Jetsons." No more chores! Maybe a robot that complained less would be better, though.

At times, they're good for humor. "Star Wars" got it right:


"Buck Rogers" got it wrong:

But such things can be set right again:


(Bender from Futurama)

As is our nature, we can turn the best of ideas into something less utilitarian and more destructive, and at the same time, making them more "human."

In case you somehow missed the humanity in a Cylon, I think a quick comparison with a random human sheds some light. Mix these two together and you get...

Cash. Lots of it. But back to Cylons. 20 plus years later, they were updated:

Sinister looking, I think! And even in fiction, robots become obsolete:

(CGI - Computer Generated Imagery). But then, even Cylons weren't content, so they upgraded where CGI isn't required.

Yep, a robot, named Caprica 6. We're finally realizing the potential in these things!

And not just in TV. I doubt I'll have a handy robot to mow the yard, cook dinner, and vacuum the house. (I left out ironing the shirts. Does anyone do that anymore? Ah, but does anyone need to do that anymore?)

Why? Nanotechnology - Re-engineering the world at the molecular level. We can change fibers, and thus fabrics, so that they don't wrinkle. We can change the metal on a plane's wing at the tiniest of levels so that it repulses water and will not let ice form. Nanotech is the heart of technology advancement today.

What's coming? Nanobots, of course! These are not exactly the warm and fuzzy stuff of childhood imagination, they're little gizmos (smaller than 100 nanometers - a nanometer is one billionth of a meter) that, for example, will help carry oxygen in our blood and carve out blockages in our arteries or cancerous cells.

Oh, and let's not forget replacing faulty neurons...


This is the stuff of imagination and untapped potential, and it is much more likely to affect my life than, oh..., a Caprica 6 (not yet available at Wal-Mart).

But, for someone who will be trusting others to imagine, develop, harness and implement such things in a way that doesn't accidentally spell D-O-O-M for mankind (as robots are want to do), I must say that the "old and familiar" provides comfort in a changing world, and, of course, provides amusement.

Which is why, in part, I made an impulse purchase at a art show recently. It's as simple as "see, desire, purchase."


Folks, that's a robot being a robot, with the bonus of being painted on "Captain America" comic pages. Admittedly, I didn't know that I was buying a category called "low-browed art," but, really, I shouldn't have been surprised. I mean, it's a blue, one-eyed robot shooting a blaster! It's definitely worthy of my walls.

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