Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy

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Penguin, Oct 13, 2015 - Business & Economics - 208 pages
“[An] essential book… it is required reading as we seriously engage one of the most important debates of our time.”—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

From drones to Mars rovers—an exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future.

 
In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of robotics today, debunking commonly held myths and exploring the rapidly changing relationships between humans and machines.
 
Drawing on firsthand experience, extensive interviews, and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, Mindell takes us to extreme environments—high atmosphere, deep ocean, and outer space—to reveal where the most advanced robotics already exist. In these environments, scientists use robots to discover new information about ancient civilizations, to map some of the world’s largest geological features, and even to “commute” to Mars to conduct daily experiments. But these tools of air, sea, and space also forecast the dangers, ethical quandaries, and unintended consequences of a future in which robotics and automation suffuse our everyday lives.
 
Mindell argues that the stark lines we’ve drawn between human and not human, manual and automated, aren’t helpful for understanding our relationship with robotics. Brilliantly researched and accessibly written, Our Robots, Ourselves clarifies misconceptions about the autonomous robot, offering instead a hopeful message about what he calls “rich human presence” at the center of the technological landscape we are now creating.  
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Engineer Mindell details the past and present use of robotic vehicles and other robotic devices in deep-sea operations, aviation, warfare [wince, shudder], and off-Earth operations, always emphasizing ... Read full review

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

No robot takeover is in the offing, but this savvy insider’s account of automated systems argues that we can expect ever more intimate cooperation of humans with intelligent machines. MIT engineering ... Read full review

Contents

Also by David A Mindell
CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5
CHAPTER 6
Autonomy in the Human World
INDEX
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

David A. Mindell is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing at MIT. He has twenty-five years of experience as an engineer in undersea robotic exploration, as a veteran of more than thirty oceanographic expeditions, and as a pilot and engineer of autonomous aircraft. He is the award-winning author of Iron Coffin: War Technology and Experience Aboard the USS Monitor and Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight. He founded Humatics Corporation, which creates technologies to render autonomy transparent, safe, and trustworthy by transforming how robots and autonomous systems work in human environments.

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