The word robot
comes from a Slavic root meaning "labour." The first time the word was used, by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek, it was used to describe what is today called an android or replicant—an artificial being capable of passing for human, with genuine emotions. The idea of machines that emulate animals and humans, to various degrees of accuracy, is of course much older, and writers have traditionally revelled in finding ways of making these characters behave more artificially and more obviously as machines, from speaking monotonously
to ineptitude at lying
. But increasing advances in machine learning are suggesting that, perhaps, this is the wrong way of thinking, and that, instead, our fallibility and organic behaviour may actually be essential to what allows us to think.
In part two
, we examined peculiar ways of creating computers, as well as past computing technologies. This part concludes the "computers in science fiction" series.
Doctor Richard Daystrom
, inventor of military automation, military automation testing, and the military automation testing disaster.