Love Machines
Wallpaper|September 2017

Why do we feel so compelled to seek out emotional attachments with mechanical life forms?

Jonathan Bell

Few technologies have been so extensively foreshadowed as robotics. For nearly 100 years, we’ve indulged in an array of speculative fictions that have defined the form, function and social impact of robots far in advance of the available technology. As a result, automation is treated more as a cultural trope than an economic threat. All the while the robots are fermenting the stealthiest industrial revolution in history.

We delved behind the scenes at the London Science Museum’s recent exhibition about our obsession with mechanical life forms. As well as asking the big questions about robotic pasts, presents and futures, the show offers up a rogue’s gallery of android approximations of specialist applications, from healthcare through to entertainment.

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