AI News, Review: A New Exhibition Shows That Humanoid Robots Have Been Around Longer Than You Think

Review: A New Exhibition Shows That Humanoid Robots Have Been Around Longer Than You Think

Scholes argued in the 1970s that “no one would go through the trouble of building and maintaining a robot to hand wash clothes or pick up the telephone receiver,” they were apparently unaware that Japanese researchers had already made a long-term commitment to develop humanoid robots that could do exactly that.

Visitors are welcomed by a blinking, stretching android baby, perhaps representing the infancy of automation displayed in the first section, dubbed “Marvel.” A video clip of an early Spanish automaton monk, some exquisite clocks, and an 18th-century silver swan automaton represent a period when, the curators argue, “likening the human body to clockwork...led to the creation of the earliest robots.” Well,maybe.

The “Obey” section includes two beautiful examples of craftsmanship inspired by the industrial revolution: a finishing lathe from the mid-1700s, which mimicked the handiwork of humans by producing geometrical designs for watchcases and other objects, and an early 20th-century example of a Northrop automatic fabric loom.

wall of toys, models, and magazines, and a stage of full-size humanoids from science fiction films, including Maria from Metropolis and an endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, share the “Dream” section with early novelty and exhibition robots.

Unlike earlier automata that were essentially wind-up toys with preprogrammed motions, robots of the 21st century are learning to sense human expression and movement, and to respond in useful ways.

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