Our Robots, Ourselves: 9 Efforts to Build More Relatable Robots

If we're going to live in a world of artificial intelligences, we've got to be able to feel affection for them.
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Credit: An original performance R.U.R. Rocketmagnet/Wikipedia

The word "robot" entered English from Czech. The 1920 play Rossum's Universal Robots featured artificial lifeforms designed for manual labor who eventually rose up and exterminated their human creators. A common trope, to be sure, and here's another one: at the end, a pair of robots have learned to love one another, and the last human gives them his blessing, declaring them the new Adam and Eve.

Humans have had an ambivalent relationship with robots real and fictional ever since. The key to easing that discomfort has been to build bots we can relate to -- if not as people, than at least as something with a personality. This slideshow will detail some attempts that met varying degrees of success.

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