Robotics Through Science Fiction
Artificial Intelligence Explained Through Six Classic Robot Short Stories
Six classic science fiction stories and commentary that illustrate and explain key algorithms or principles of artificial intelligence.
This book presents six classic science fiction stories and commentary that illustrate and explain key algorithms or principles of artificial intelligence. Even though all the stories were originally published before 1973, they help readers grapple with two questions that stir debate even today: how are intelligent robots programmed? and what are the limits of autonomous robots? The stories—by Isaac Asimov, Vernor Vinge, Brian Aldiss, and Philip K. Dick—cover telepresence, behavior-based robotics, deliberation, testing, human-robot interaction, the “uncanny valley,” natural language understanding, machine learning, and ethics. Each story is preceded by an introductory note, “As You Read the Story,” and followed by a discussion of its implications, “After You Have Read the Story.” Together with the commentary, the stories offer a nontechnical introduction to robotics. The stories can also be considered as a set of—admittedly fanciful—case studies to be read in conjunction with more serious study.
“Stranger in Paradise” by Isaac Asimov, 1973
“Runaround” by Isaac Asimov, 1942
“Long Shot” by Vernor Vinge, 1972
“Catch That Rabbit” by Isaac Asimov, 1944
“Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss, 1969
“Second Variety” by Philip K. Dick, 1953
"The heart of science fiction beats behind every scientific advance, and Robotics Through Science Fiction expertly harnesses the thrilling concepts behind classic sci-fi stories to slingshot the reader through areas of fascinating real-world research. It's a wonderful, awe-inspiring combination of fact and fiction."
Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times Bestselling author of Robopocalypse
"I recommend this book to anyone who grew up reading science fiction and wants a gentle introduction to key ideas in robotics from one of the great roboticists of our time. From Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics to Philip K. Dick's robots masquerading as human, Murphy guides us from fantasy to fundamental concepts such as behavior-based robotics, or the belief-desire-intention model of artificial intelligence. If only HAL 9000's creators had read Murphy's chapter on testing, Dave would have survived the journey.”
Judy Goldsmith, Professor of Computer Science, University of Kentucky