Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Robot (02:00)


Modern robots can interact with humans, raising questions and concerns regarding the role of artificial intelligence in society. Scientist Rodney Brooks explains how more are needed for manufacturing and menial labor tasks.

Automats (07:13)

According to Greek legend, Hephaestus forged two mechanical handmaidens. Hero of Alexandria designed self-propelling gadgets for theater scenes. The Russo brothers invented a programmable music playing machine. “The Writer” wrote text up to forty characters in length with a quill.

Crisis and Collaboration (10:44)

Charles Babbage designed the Difference Engine to calculate log tables and eliminate human error causing navigational mistakes and naval disasters. He built the Analytical Engine; Ada Lovelace realized its potential and wrote the first computer program.

Universal Computer (04:07)

In 1920, Josef Capek coined the term, “robot.” In 1935, Alan Turing imagined a machine that carried a program in its memory, cable of solving any mathematically described problem. In 1936, he published his ideas; he was recruited for intelligence during World War II.

Imitation Game (06:24)

Scientists competed to build the first computer. In 1948, The Baby featured memory, random access to programming, and an interface. In 1951, Turing broadcast ideas regarding artificial intelligence.

Animal Mimicry (04:15)

Neurophysiologist William Grey Walter developed machines that recorded brain wave activity, triggering curiosity about neural wiring in simpler species. He created “The Tortoise,” a robot with touch and sight senses.

Technology for Complicated Tasks (04:27)

Combining Turing’s theory of universal computer and Grey’s autonomous machine created the design for intelligent robots. In 2011, the Curiosity Rover used a series of systems to monitor itself and make adjustments to successfully land on Mars.

Current Practical Applications (03:06)

Rodney Brooks started iRobot in 1990 to produce functional machines. The U.S. military extensively uses the PackBot for explosives disarmament. Experts also used the bot at Fukushima to read instrumentation and shut off reactors.

Torque and Dexterity (04:47)

Scientists at the Aeronautical Research Institute in Germany develop TORO, a robot capable of controlling joint rotation. They demonstrate how it balances on uneven surfaces and learns a series of new tasks.

Artificial Intelligence (05:11)

The iCub is designed to collect data and learn about its surroundings. It can master a variety of skills and share information with other robots. Scientists discuss the evolution of robotics and the plausibility of machines adopting human emotions and reactions.

Credits: The Robot (00:29)

Credits: The Robot

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The Robot

Part of the Series : Breakthrough: The Ideas that Changed the World
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Learn how robots were first conceptualized in ancient Rome and see how their use has evolved over the centuries, from the calculator to the Roomba. Then, take a sneak peek at what future robots will be able to do.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL188587

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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