Robots: The 500-Year Quest To Make Machines Human

Most of us were first introduced to robots through science fiction. Whether it was the Maschinenmensch in Metropolis, R2-D2 & C-3PO in Star Wars or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator, robots have been part of human culture for a long time and now play important roles in everything from space exploration to hospitality, prosthetics and surgery. It’s this relationship between culture and science that drew Elastic to visit the Robots exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

(Photo credit: National Museums Scotland)

Regardless of your level of interest in robotics, you’ll find something of interest or delight. History buffs will be intrigued by the fascinating (albeit creepy) vintage clockwork automata from centuries past. Serious science and engineering enthusiasts will pore over the wide range of modern examples on display, studying the exposed parts and wiring that makes these creations work. Or if you’re a curious generalist like some of us, you’ll love playfully interacting with the robots and watching them perform. If you get chance to visit, make sure you hang around for Robothespian’s impression of Sir Patrick Stewart, it’s uncanny!

Whilst our experience of the exhibition was varied, one thing we all agreed on was how unsettling some of the robots were, especially ones that were designed to look human. Fearful or not, we’re excited to see what the future holds for the relationship between humans and robots.

Robots is on show now at the National Museum of Scotland until 5 May 2019.


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