We often think of robots as a modern obsession, but our fascination with robots goes further back in history than we may think!
The human relationship to robots, and our desire to enhance the world around us with their presence, is long standing. From ancient Greek mythology to the present day, robots have been both feared and revered. History shows that our desire to create objects that can imitate or outperform humans also induces a deep sense of unease.
Today, Craig and Matt of the YouTube channel The Good Stuff teach us a bit about the origins of robots, helping us in the process to gain some perspective on our modern relationship with them:
This video is a first in a series of videos by The Good Stuff on this topic, so if you liked this video, click on the link to see more!
Fixing our fear & fascination with robots?
Knowing where we came from can deeply inform our current and future direction. I think our fascination with robots is one example of how the past can give us perspective on our present. Even after hundreds of years, we are still intrigued and entranced by robots, yet we continue to be wary of how robots impact our humanity. And it seems that we continue to demonstrate this paradox by splitting and settling into either fascination or fear.
In fact, when we consider the adoption of any new technology, we can usually find evidence of concurrent, innumerable fears. And while fear, in itself, might not be bad, fear without facts breeds a small-mindedness that keeps us from progressing.
We can transform fear into a healthy skepticism using reason, science, and research. In this way, we keep ourselves from doing harm, not only by stopping the fear narrative, but also by forcing ourselves to ask, and find the answers to, intelligent questions.
Maybe the next time we are faced with a great leap in technology, we can cultivate our curiosity instead of our fear. After all, why close doors, when we could, instead, open ourselves to a world of new possibilities?
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- “A History Of Robots.” YouTube. The Good Stuff, 8 June 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK-h4oATYSI>. ↩