Patricia A. Vargas

Patricia A. Vargas is Founder–Director of the Robotics Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University, where she is Associate Professor of Computer Science and Robotics. She is coeditor of The Horizons of Evolutionary Robotics (MIT Press).

  • The Robots Are Coming

    What Every Anxious Human Needs to Know

    Ruth Aylett and Patricia A. Vargas

    The truth about robots: two experts look beyond the hype, offering a lively and accessible guide to what robots can (and can't) do.

    The robots are coming, and they're going to take our jobs! Or, on second thought, perhaps they will be our friends! In case you haven't noticed, there's a lot of hype about robots; some of it is scary and some of it utopian. In this book, two robotics experts look beyond the fearmongering and the cheerleading to offer an engaging, accessible guide to robots: what they can (and can't) do, how they work, and what we can reasonably expect their future capabilities to be.

    The authors discuss the history of our fascination with the creation of artificial humans and why we find it so frightening. They outline the basic capabilities of robots—movement, navigation, and grasping and touching—and unpack the language we use to talk about robots, investigating the terms intelligence (perhaps a misnomer in the context of robotics) and learning (explaining the varieties of machine learning). They describe cooperating robots, used in applications ranging from robot football to search and rescue; ask if robots can feel emotions; and consider interactive robots as pets, butlers, and companions. Finally, they look at robots that raise ethical and social issues: killer robots, sexbots, and robots that might be gunning for your job. The Robots Are Coming equips readers to look at robots concretely—as human-made artifacts rather than placeholders for our anxieties.

    • Hardcover $27.95
  • The Horizons of Evolutionary Robotics

    The Horizons of Evolutionary Robotics

    Patricia A. Vargas, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo, Inman Harvey, and Phil Husbands

    An authoritative overview of current research in this exciting interdisciplinary field.

    Evolutionary robotics (ER) aims to apply evolutionary computation techniques to the design of both real and simulated autonomous robots. The Horizons of Evolutionary Robotics offers an authoritative overview of this rapidly developing field, presenting state-of-the-art research by leading scholars. The result is a lively, expansive survey that will be of interest to computer scientists, robotics engineers, neuroscientists, and philosophers.

    The contributors discuss incorporating principles from neuroscience into ER; dynamical analysis of evolved agents; constructing appropriate evolutionary pathways; spatial cognition; the coevolution of robot brains and bodies; group behavior; the evolution of communication; translating evolved behavior into design principles; the development of an evolutionary robotics–based methodology for shedding light on neural processes; an incremental approach to complex tasks; and the notion of “mindless intelligence”—complex processes from immune systems to social networks—as a way forward for artificial intelligence.

    Contributors Christos Ampatzis, Randall D. Beer, Josh Bongard, Joachim de Greeff, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo, Marco Dorigo, Dario Floreano, Inman Harvey, Sabine Hauert, Phil Husbands, Laurent Keller, Michail Maniadakis, Orazio Miglino, Sara Mitri, Renan Moioli, Stefano Nolfi, Michael O'Shea, Rainer W. Paine, Andy Philippides, Jordan B. Pollack, Michela Ponticorvo, Yoon-Sik Shim, Jun Tani, Vito Trianni, Elio Tuci, Patricia A. Vargas, Eric D. Vaughan

    • Hardcover $60.00