Our family once owned a cottage that my father and his friends built around 1959, I think it was (I came along two years later). For as long as that cottage was owned by us, there was a stack of Mechanix Illustrated and Popular Science magazines there from the mid to late 50s. They were always fascinating reading. Articles about technology and science present and future. Lots of flying cars, or at least helicopter-car hybrids that could fly out of traffic jams on the road. There were likely robots too. I myself owned a rather large toy robot (a “Zeroid”) that had moved about on tank-like treads and had lots of flashing lights. I wonder what happened to it.
So it was with intent fascination that I read Terri Favro’s Generation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation. The book itself is full of trips back to Ms. Favro’s childhood (she is a “late-boomer” like myself) in Southern Ontario where her father was an inveterate constructor of automated devices for the home. Some successful, others not so much. It would take the development of the computer chip to fully realize the dream of robots doing repetitive tasks for humans.
Ms. Favro knows her stuff, as she was an early adopter of personal computers for her work. She takes us through a brief introduction to all those whiz kids that built and programmed computers in their parent’s garages and basements and who are zillionaries today (if they are still alive). From there, she moves into the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and the evolution of driverless cars and other conveniences that await us in the near future.
Generation Robot is reminiscent of the popular “Dummies” books that were ubiquitous at the start of the home computing craze: written for a general audience, friendly, funny and with sidebars full of tidbits of information. Ms Favro’s book has such asides, full of such things as robots in pop culture such as movies throughout the years. Overall, a very enjoyable read, very much like those old Mechanix Illustrated magazines at the cottage.
- Paperback : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 151075461X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1510754614
- Product Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.78 x 20.96 cm
- Publisher : Skyhorse (March 17 2020)
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