Why Do Humans Find Robots Fascinating?

Psychologists cannot seem to find a reason why humans are so obsessive about robots. They are of the opinion that it begins and ends with vanity; they have qualities that almost make them human. However, another reason could be the possibility that can do the work and humans can do the resting and vacationing without worrying about mundane issues like chores.

The mere thought of a machine with a robotic arm  or five of them that can perform several tasks is quite intriguing in all honesty.

A Brief History

Robots are believed by many to have made their debut in the 20th century. This is not entirely true. As far back as human beings have been around, they have always looked for ways to make their work and by extension, their lives easier. The fascination with beings that have extraordinary abilities to perform human tasks that humans are not terribly fond of did not begin recently.

An ancient Greek engineer named Ctesibius is said to have built clocks which were powered by water. These clocks were adorned with little figurines that bore close resemblance to humans, bells and birds and all these seemed to rotate unaided. Leonardo da Vinci had a plan drawn for a mechanical knight in 1495 although that never saw the light of day. The early Japanese also had their Karakuri dolls. These were courteous, excellently adorned dolls which were powered by a system of pulleys and weights to perform tricks such as serving tea and writing letters.

As far back as 270BC, communities such as the Greeks and the Egyptians which credited with having birthed early civilization were already experimenting with machines that could perform simple tasks.  In fact, think about the era that came up with the Frankenstein monster. This 1818 fantasy revolved around a monster that had human qualities and what havoc such a being could cause in the human world.

In the ensuing years, scientists became increasingly fascinated with the idea of creating intelligent machines that can be rational and logical enough to work themselves. This is where robotic technology is headed currently. The scientists and engineers are looking into the possibility of creating robots that resemble and act like humans as much as possible.

These instances prove that robots or at the very least the idea of them has been around for eons. It is highly likely that coming generations will be shocked to learn that there was a time when humans did not interact with robots except in the work place. That may have the same effect as trying to figure out how the human race survived with the sofa.

The Modern Robot

The robots that are active presently are those built for industrial functions. They are functional automations meant for:

  • Military activities
  • Industrial tasks such as manufacturing and assembly work
  • Research tasks

Engineers are still trying to figure out how to bring out the social robot. In addition, there is the domestic one to fathom as well. Social robots are most likely to be for entertainment purposes. However, they can be used to enrich many facets of human existence. They are expected to have human qualities in appearance, sound and behavior.

Other robots may take the animal form and behavior and humans can have them for pets. This fascination is increasingly coming out in the movie industry which after all, is an expression of what could be.

The social robot is especially intriguing for psychologists because they can study human behavior through human interactions with the bots. They are expected to have interactive roles as:

  • Assistants
  • Entertainers
  • Companions
  • Educators

This way, psychologists can use them as a system for measuring human behavior. This human need to see ourselves mirrored or aped by things that are human inventions has resulted in a whole division of study known as ‘robopsychology’; the study of compatibility of humans and artificial creations.

Human curiosity about machines and how they can make their lives easier and richer is not about to be dimmed any time soon.

About the author /

Christopher Washington

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