June 25, 2012 12:21 PSP Book - 9in x 6in 02-Junichi-Takeno-c02
Chapter 2
Story of Robots
When speaking of robots, readers may think of Sony’s AIBO robot
dog or Honda’s ASIMO humanoid walking robot. Human-shaped
robots are generally called humanoid robots. Both AIBO and ASIMO
were developed by private businesses and are wonderfully animal-
like and human-like, respectively, even from the viewpoints of robot
researchers studying at universities. The creation and development
of robots are introduced below.
As readers may already know, the word “robot” comes from
Czech robota, literally meaning work or labor. It is commonly
accepted that the English word “robot” was first used in a satirical
drama R.U.R.(Rossum’s Universal Robots, 1921), written by Czech
playwright Karel Capek. In the drama, the robots created to work
for humans eventually expel the humans. It is interesting to know
that from the beginning robots were considered an existence to be
watched with caution.
Later, robots were gradually exposed to the public, including
an appearance in German movie Metropolis (1926), and in world
expositions and various other exhibitions.
In the 1970 International Exposition in Tsukuba, Japan, many
visitors were charmed by a robot playing the organ and a robot
walking on two feet like a human. Before Honda surprised the world
Creation of a Conscious Robot: Mirror Image Cognition and Self-Awareness
Junichi Takeno
2013 Pan Stanford Publishing Pte. Ltd.
ISBN 978-981-4364-49-2 (Hardcover), 978-981-4364-50-8 (eBook)
June 25, 2012 12:21 PSP Book - 9in x 6in 02-Junichi-Takeno-c02
6 Story of Robots
by revealing its ASIMO robot, there were many studies on robots that
walked upright like humans.
People were surprised to see the R2–D 2andC-3PO robots in
American movie Star Wars. The cylindrically shaped R2–D2isa
functional robot supporting fighter combat and navigation. The
humanoid robot C-3PO walks on two feet, speaks human language,
and even tells jokes. C-3PO is a protocol droid and understands the
space language according to the setting.
Later, American movie Terminator featured a fearful and very
tough robot, who performs impressively in a battle between the
robots trying to expel humans and the defending humans.
I personally like movie Andrew NDR114, which is the name of
a robot who fell in love with a human female because, for one
thing, the movie raises a serious question about the “heart” of a
Another memorable movie is AI (Artificial Intelligence). A robotic
boy longs to become “real” and sets out to find a fairy. In the movie
iRobot, a humanoid robot named Sam, who has a sense of self, saves
the lives of humans and other robots. In the move Wall-E,arobot
happens to acquire a heart one day and falls in love.
In Japan, Tetsujin 28-go (“Iron-man #28”), Astro Boy (Atom), and
Doraemon (a manga series) are famous.
Astro Boy, in particular, is a typical humanoid robot. It is depicted
as a hero of justice, fighting against evil together with humans. The
physical ability of Astro Boy is tremendous. With visual power of
2.5 and hearing ability 1000 times that of a human, the robot can
fly at Mach 5. To gain this speed, the robot is propelled by a jet
engine in the atmosphere and by a rocket engine in space. It is
said that when Astro Boy flies at Mach 5 in the atmosphere, the
clenched fist of its arm extended in the direction of flight and its
head would melt if ordinary metals were used because temperatures
would reach 1500
C. At present, ceramics are known to withstand
temperatures of 1500
C. On the other hand, Astro Boy’s skin is said to
be made of soft materials such as plastic. So far, there is no material
suitable for Astro Boy that is both soft like human skin and highly
thermoresistant. Astro Boy is basically a machine and does not have
a heart. In the story, Astro Boy agonizes over its lack of a heart. I think
this agony is a proof of the existence of its heart.

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