Robots in Moscow

Robots Among Us

The term “robot” was introduced by Czech playwright Karel Capek in his play about humanlike machines. In Czech the original word “robota” means grunt work or hard labor. When we were kids, we all dreamed of a time in future, when robots will live among us. Last 2 months in Moscow we could all experience this future.

Robots Should Look Like Us

Antropomorph robots

Antropomorph robots

Robots actually existed even, when we were kids. They worked at the factories and other industrial places, such as assembly lines, packing, sorting facilities etc. But these were not the robots we wanted to see. And even robo-dogs and roomba did not make us 100% happy. We wanted anthropomorphic robots – the ones which have legs, arms and, most importantly – eyes. Robots that are like us!

This summer we finally got that, when dozens of robots from all over the world came to Moscow to dance and play at the Robot’s Ball!

Robot’s Ball in Moscow

Sitting robot

Robots resting in between shows

I confess  – I did not expect it would be such a cool event! I ended up spending most of my Sunday, playing with robots and absolutely enjoyed that experience! Those of you, who know me personally can understand why I liked it so much (I love playing with gadgets, so playing with robots was uber-happiness for Tanya).

I want to share with you, what I saw there! It was a truly fascinating event!!!

Robot’s Ball Venue

The reason I want to show the venue, which hosted the Robot’s Ball is that even tourists, visiting Moscow, do not see such places. And most of my readers, who live far from Moscow do not think such places do exist in the city. And they are really cool, despite or maybe because of being former industrial spaces:

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Robots at The Ball

There were more than 20 robots from Russia, USA, Europe, Korea and Japan. The biggest and most entertaining robot Titan has traveled all over the world and worked along such superstars as Rihanna, Will Smith, Jackie Chan and many others. Titan dances, signs, talks to the audience in many languages and even cries:

British robot Thespian was the most emotional robot at the Robot’s Ball. Thespian can show a range of emotions – from happiness to shyness, he can blush and even fall in love. Of course he can also sing, dance and read poetry:

French robot NAO is probably the cutest one because of its size:

There were even robots-animals, like this cute baby seal:

Additional attraction at the Robot’s Ball was to look at the kids, playing with robots. For example NAO asked kids to choose a picture of a duck or other bird and show it to him and was happy if they have chosen the correct picture. But here is the cutest moment – kids levitating a ball with the power of thought:

Another moment that really melted my heart was a theater show of robots, which my friends, who organized the exhibition rehearsed for 2 months. That was a show of the smaller robots and it was fabulous! But there were moments, when things did not work out as planned. Like a moment, when a tiny robot, doing his best, performing in front of the large audience, slips and falls and a human being rushes to save him:

The Three Laws of Robotics

Seeing smart and playful robots is nice, but it also makes you wonder whether they are becoming too smart. Fears and concerns about robots have been repeatedly expressed in a range of books and films. A common theme is the development of a master race of conscious and highly intelligent robots, motivated to take over or destroy the human race.

Isaac Asimov had defined the three laws of robotics, which are often called Asimov’s laws:

1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Multiple sci-fi books and films had been built around a plot of robots gaining superhuman intelligence and abilities, re-programming their own software and hardware and fighting against the human race.  The Terminator, RoboCop, The Matrix, I, Robot, 2001: A Space Odissey etc. are some of the most well-known.

Such plot always fascinates. And if you want to read another cool book on that subject – here is a great one – Supervirus by Andrew Mitchell. I was lucky to read Supervirus before it even has been published as I am friends with the author. But I am endorsing this book not because we are friends, but because I could not stop reading it! I even read it in the notorious Moscow traffic jams!  Hope you enjoy Supervirus as well!

And hope the future of “Robots living among us” will be not scary, but rather humorous as in this video from Conan O’Brien:

Share your encounters with robots, your wishes and fears in this area! How will 2024 look like in your opinion?

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