Wednesday December 2, 2020 Smile of the Day: Robots

On this Day:

In 1950, “I, Robot”, a book of nine short stories by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov was published by Genome Press.  

Asimov imagines the development of “positronic” (humanlike, with a form of artificial intelligence) robots and starts a dialog that continues to this day on the moral implications of the robot and AI technology.

The stories originally appeared in science-fiction magazines between 1940 and 1950. Asimov’s treatment of robots as being programmed with ethics rather than as marauding metal monsters was greatly influential in the development of science fiction and in the discussion of AI. 

Asimov’s famed Three Laws of Robotics:

• A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
• A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
• A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second.

Asimov’s Three Laws spread throughout science fiction, and almost every robot in books or film was subsequently created with them in mind. (per

First, a Story:

I invented a surgical robot. So far it only operates on batteries..

Second, a Song:

Nigel Stanford (full name: Nigel John Stanford) is a New Zealand composer, best known for his soundtrack for the movie TimeScapes directed by Tom Lowe, as well as his music videos Cymatics and Automatica.

In Automatica, the orange robots gently strum the strings of a guitar and rapidly play the keys of a keyboard. The video demonstrates the potential power of combining artificial intelligence with music. At the beginning of the video, Stanford shows them how he plays. At the end, the machines show him new ways of playing (per Wikipedia).

Musician Nigel Stanford doesn’t just play alongside his bandmates for the new album “Automatica.” He programmed them.

Stanford spent a month in his garage teaching mechanical arms to work piano keys, wield guitar picks and drumsticks and press percussion foot pedals. He taught them well.  (per c|net)  Here is Nigel Stanford and his robots performing “Automatica”. I hope you enjoy this look into the future.


Thought for the Day:

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2020 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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