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Robot Futures Hardcover – 26 Mar 2013

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The best parts of the book are the crazy scenarios Nourbakhsh comes up with -- like malfunctioning eye-controlled toy helicopters and robot-enabled infidelity. His preference for a future in which robots are employed to serve communities, not individuals or corporations, is innovative -- if less fun than the nightmare robots that populate his chapters. Slate In robotics, there is a fine line between science fiction and science fact. Illah Reza Nourbakhsh turns out to be a master of straddling that line. In this accessible, smart book, he suggests how plausible robot futures could change our lives. -- George Annas New Scientist Concise and illuminating with few detours into engineering-speak, this book will interest a broad technology-minded audience, from future scientists to data analysts to entrepreneurs. Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Illah Reza Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also directs the Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and thought provoking 17 April 2013
By John - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Starting with a well-written, accessible review of the current state of robotics research and development, Nourbakhsh explores the potential effects on individuals and society of probable near-term developments in robotics. i particularly liked his technique of starting each chapter with a fictional scenario as a way to leapfrog the reader into a consideration of various issues surrounding human-robot interaction. Regardless of how you feel about it, intelligent machines are becoming an increasing presence in everyday life (just think about Siri, smart-phones, directed advertising, etc.). We are overdue for a reasoned consideration of the practical and ethical considerations this raises, rather than a piecemeal approach to particular issues as they arise (such as laws against texting while driving, or lawsuits over Google's intrusions on privacy while creating StreetView). So far, this holistic approach has only been done in science fiction, with a presumption that the technology involved is set in some distant future. Nourbakhsh convincingly presents a probable time line for changes occurring over the next 10-30 years that will bring these human/bot interaction issues to a head. This book provides a good jumping off spot for a discussion of both practical realities and underlying ethics among a more general audience.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Study likely scenarios. 9 May 2013
By RichardAlexanderGreen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robot Futures contains a set of likely scenarios. Each scenario demonstrates the very real possibility of an ethical, economic, or social issue associated with the use of robots.

While the title is "Robot Futures", I hasten to add that these futures will be within most reader`s lifetimes. There are no speculative technologies involved in these scenarios. All are under current development and their release into our environement is just a question of technology and market trends.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not What I Expected - Good for Anthropologists 10 Dec. 2013
By Steve Keifer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book was not what I expected. I was looking for a book that would provide a vision how the world will change with the introduction of robots into mainstream society over the next fifty to one hundred years. We are already witnessing a wave of emerging technologies reaching the market - unmanned drones that can deliver packages for; toy robots that teach children the basics of software programming; self-driving cars that can parallel park by themselves. While the author does offer some examples of how robots will be used in everyday lives in the future, this is less than 5% of the content of the book.

Instead, the majority of the discussion focuses on the societal, ethical and legal implications of mainstream robotics. Think topics such as: Who is responsible if a self-driving Google powered car gets in an accident? What happens when a drone programmed by the US military kills innocent civilians? Will there be a societal backlash against robots with people attempting to harm or destroy them?

I would recommend this book for someone who is already familiar with robotics and its applications in the commercial and consumer space. Anthropologists, criminologists and others interested in the impact of technology on society.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
very good résumé of current challenges in robotics 9 May 2013
By Albert Yefimov - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like this book because it has very good explanation of current research agenda in modern robotics. Little scifi stories before each chapter makes it lively.
Recommended read for. Everyone interested in general robotics
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sooner Than You Think 9 April 2013
By brutus inquisitor - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Years ago I was involved in technological forecasting. My main problem was not in the technology, but rather in the timing. I would forecast 7 years and it happened in four. Say 10, get 5 or 6 years.
I believe that Professor Nourbakhsh is too conservative in his time estimates for the technology content of his scenarios. That is my only problem with this excellent book.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to both technical and lay readers. There is an exciting bringing together of many technical threads, and the many ethical issues raised beg for serious thought--now.

Thank you Professor for publishing this on Kindle.
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