Sunday July 24, 2016

Love/Machine

Robots. No matter how hard we try, most of us can't help but feel for them. We want to know: why are we so compelled to endow robots with some kind of humanity?

Robots. No matter how hard we try, most of us can't help but feel for them. We want to know: why are we so compelled to endow robots with some kind of humanity? (Getty images )

Listen to Full Episode 53:51

In this episode of Tapestry, we go deep into the heart of robots... and investigate the human urge to get attached to them.

Why are we so inclined to endow robots with some kind of humanity? Where does that urge come from and where does it take us? Is this human propensity endearing? Creepy? Perhaps a little dangerous?' What IS it about human beings and our inclination to see artificial life as something REAL?

Our investigation takes us from the pages of a science fiction novel onto the battlefield and into a research lab at MIT.

stories from this episode

  • hitchBOT 2014

    Why we can't help falling in love... with robots

    We humans aren't always logical. We know robots don't have feelings, but that doesn't stop us from getting attached to them. Kate Darling is a researcher at MIT's Media Lab, and she's fascinated by human empathy for robots. Recently she made a few folks very uncomfortable when she asked them to torture and crush a tiny robot.

    Listen 27:48
  • "The Mechanical" by Ian Tregillis

    If robots had free will, should we treat them like humans?

    Ian Tregillis is a physicist and novelist. His book "The Mechanical" is a sci-fi page-turner. When the mechanical robots in his book begin to develop free will, readers are left with an unsettling question - should the robots be treated like humans?

    Listen 22:06