Darwinianly speaking ...


If we compare human history from, let's say, the Troy War in 1250BC till now with robot history, starting with ELSIE, via a simple lineal approximation, each year in robotics is approximately equal to 48 in our time span.

Thus, we can get some idea on the magnitude of progress in the field. For example, in the approximately 20 years that passed from ELSIE to commercial UNIMATES, we would have moved from the Bronze Age to the Rise of Rome, and then to its fall in the 9 years it took to build SHAKEY, the first navigating autonomous robot.


In 9 years more, VICARM would have robot arms in the Viking probes, and Arthur, King of Britain, would have died in Camlam. Legged robots like Ghenghis would correspond to Marco Polo travels, and, curiously, the Age of Discovery, starting with Columbus arrival to America, roughly corresponds to Dante exploring Mt Erebus and Sojurner arrival to Mars. Kismet, the first social robot, would be somewhere around 1580, when Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I fought over Britain sucession, and then multishaped robots adapted to air, sea and whatnot would appear by the dawn of Industrial Revolution. Both timelines would match back in 2010, with events so unbelievable as nanobots swimming in blood flow and a black president in the White House.


Fiction robots moved faster: our Bronze Age models would be the outer space killing robots from the 50s, evolving into piloted mechas by the time Caesar ruled in Rome. Terminator would be searching for Sarah Connors by the time Angkor Wat started to be constructed and machines would have created the Matrix during the Age of Discovery. After the Industrial Revolution, it would become widely accepted that robots might actually have a soul and Pixar would give us Wall-e and EVA over year ago. The movie would go back to inorganic multi-shaped robots, yet insists on how little separates artificial beings from human souls, not just in terms of intelligence, but also in terms of feelings.

NOTE: This entry has been loosely inspired in today recommended reading: J. Fdez-Macarron, Nuestra galaxia en un campo de futbol (spanish only)

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