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Mr Roboto January 13, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in ideas, inventions, nostalgia, robot rights, steampunk, weird news, writing.

OK, I admit it.  I’ve always been a sucker for robots.  It might go back to my earliest childhood days of excitement at visiting downtown Indianapolis and seeing the monster fish tank or the Soldiers & Sailors Monument or sticking my feet in the fluoroscope and wiggling my toes as I received fatal amounts of radiation or even the pneumatic tube sales system at a dept store.  It was certainly there at that dept store where I saw Elektro and knew what the future would be.

Oh well.

Roombas are ok but not like that.  Tom Swift and his Giant Robot is nifty, not to mention being about a nuclear research plant.  I started young on my geekiness. But I thought this was the opening salvo of robotics.  But nooooo….

I came across this yesterday on io9 (which, if you don’t follow, you really should–it’s got great stuff).  A steampunk robot that looks pretty darn cool.  1868?  Astounding!  Amazing!  Fantastic! Vargo Statten!

Robot history has certainly been one of attempts at making the ‘bots look human or at least humanoid, but there is no reason for this (the Roomba, for instance).  There is no reason form shouldn’t follow function.  This might well mean future robots will be teeny nanomachines (nanobots) or Chthulu tentacled monsters or something too strange to describe.  Considering how much info can be placed on a hard drive now, the nanobots might carry information/memory you could use.  It evaporates after a predetermined time, making you an expert for only so long.  For really complicated tasks, this might be very useful.  Why spend months or years learning (building those neurons) when you can let a robot give you all the skill you need?  Especially if you aren’t likely to need to do the same job again for a long time?

On a Doc Smith scale, what would a robot the size of a planet do?  I’m just now starting to work on the final book in the Star Frontier series and am thinking of doing more than just rewriting.  Introduce some new stuff?  Like robots the size of a solar system?  Might save that for later.  Other ideas away from the Star Frontier concept crop up.



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