With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital. The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking, talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will be embedded in our physical spaces, with the ability to go where we cannot, and will have minds of their own, thanks to artificial intelligence. They will be fully connected to the digital world, far better at carrying out online tasks than we are.
Illah Reza Nourbakhsh, professor of Robotics explained how we would share our world with these creatures, and how our society could change as we incorporate a race of stronger, smarter and more connected intelligences.
In his talk Illah drew upon the examples in his book Robot Futures to describe how our near, urban future would be coloured by new technology, from interactive custom messaging to multi-modal, multi-continental telepresence.
Illah R. Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics, director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) lab and head of the Robotics Masters Program in The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His current research projects explore community-based robotics, including educational and social robotics and ways to use robotic technology to empower individuals and communities, as described in this CREATE Lab white paper.
The CREATE Lab’s programs have already engaged more that 23,000 people globally, and the CREATE Satellite program is forging additional CREATE lab partners in new geographic zones. While on leave from Carnegie Mellon in 2004, Illah served as Robotics Group lead at NASA/Ames Research Center. He was a founder and chief scientist of Blue Pumpkin Software, Inc., which was acquired by Witness Systems, Inc.
Illah earned his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in computer science at Stanford University and has been a faculty member of Carnegie Mellon since 1997. In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 named him a Kavli Fellow. He is co-author of the second edition MIT Press textbook, Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots. He is author of the newly published MIT Press book for general readership, Robot Futures.