Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Browse by Decade
Amazonian
More Ads?

Ads

Search
Ads

Amazon Fun

Navigation

Entries in robots (79)

Sunday
Nov292009

Pets of the Year 2000 As Living Robots (1974)

Most people of the 20th century imagined humanoid robots as the domestic servants of the future. But one curious article from the March 1, 1974 Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI) described the year 2000 as a world of cyborg Fidos awaiting your next command; be it closing the window, or bombing an insurgent hideout. 

LONDON (UPI) -- The programming of family pets to perform various tasks and various deeds, good or evil as required, may be fairly common practice by the year 2000, according to an American psychologist.

Dr. Boris Levinson of Touro College in New York, a specialist on relationships between people and animals, said that by the end of the century pets controlled by brain electrodes may become commonplace. Recent experiments make this a strong probability, he said.

"it does not lie in the realm of science fiction," Dr. Levinson told a symposium organized by the British Small Animals' Veterinary Association. "In a sense the electrodes will make the animals become living robots. They will be able to open doors, close windows, adjust beds and even call for help."

He said pets could even be used for warfare and for espionage and if the knowledge of genetic engineering involved fell into the hands of insurgent groups they could be employed in bombings and in plane hijackings. Criminals might use them in the commission of theft, robbery and even murder.

But he said most pets would play a highly beneficial role in society -- "a very important safety valve in a sick society" -- as specially trained companions to invalids, old people, childless couples and even astronauts.

Dr. Levinson's remarks brought quick reactions in this nation of animal lovers. A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal lovers described "exploitation" of pets as reprehensible. 

Dr. Levinson pointed out that dogs had been used as living bombs in the Russo-German fighting in World War II an he was stating the possibilities.

"We can already implant minute electrodes into animals' brains to make them placid, angry or to stop them attacking," he said. "It is only a matter of time before electrodes can be implanted into every part of the brain to make them do whatever we wish."

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Oct182009

Have You a Little Robot? (1929)

You like robots? Well, just hold your horses. They're not here yet. And until they are, you better ride our damn street cars.

That seems to be the gist of an ad the San Antonio Public Service Company took out in the February 17, 1929 San Antonio Light. There's an attitude of inevitability in the advertisement; the idea that the robot chauffeur is within immediate reach, that robot servants would arrive in the very near future. 

We see this come up time and again throughout the 1920s and 30s. The robots are coming. You best get ready. (But in the meantime, buy our product.)

HAVE YOU A LITTLE ROBOT IN YOUR HOME?

Now comes the Robot -- the mechanical man with many of humanity's good features and none of its bad. He never makes mistakes -- always dependable -- in fact an ideal pet to have around.

Imagine having your own Robot drive you to the office in your own car. He, being a Robot, wouldn't get excited in traffic, wouldn't have an accidents, and you'd be able to forget about parking troubles.

Sounds mighty fine. But so far Mr. Robot hasn't learned to drive a car. And when he does it will probably cost you plenty for him to operate your old bus. Street cars and buses still hold the lead on the most desirable city transportation. Until Mr. Robot becomes a chauffeur you will find it more satisfactory to ride with us.

Convenience Without Expense. Service Without Danger.

SAN ANTONIO PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY

Previously on Paleo-Future: 

 

Monday
Sep282009

When Wars Are Fought With Robot Soldiers (1935)

The idea that robot soldiers would inevitably replace human troops pops up repeatedly in newspapers of the 1930s. The emergence of humanoid robots, however primitive, lent themselves to people thinking about the human toll of the first World War and how it might be avoided in future wars.

This article from the July 28, 1935 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) features illustrations from artist Erik Nitsche depicting robots with machine guns for heads, robot scouts with movie camera faces, a twenty-five tube robot military band, and even a robot hospital for the repair of robot soldiers. An excerpt appears below.

Erik Nitsche, a distinguished European artist, has looked into the future of a century from now and has made a series of remarkable prophetic pictures of a war fought solely with robot soldiers. The majority of them were drawn exclusively for The American Weekly and appear on this page.

Instead of the human machine gunners, crouched in their emplacements, waiting for the mangling shell to end them, there is a steel encased mechanism. The most important organ to the machine gunner, without which his hands would be useless, are his eyes. Nitsche's robot machine gunner's head is the gun itself. His eyes are in the heads of those who by television and radio direct his fire. he crawls forward, his human masters miles away, striving to direct the deadly stream into the mechanical vitals of the enemy's robots.

Patrol work was desperately dangerous in the last war. But a flying robot, equipped with motion picture and sound recording machines, could dart and hover over the enemy with no danger to human life -- and bring back vastly more accurate observations. When a human soldier gets a bullet in his heart, or in his liver or has himself partly blown to pieces, that is the end of that soldier. Not so with the robot. A new heart can be put in him as easily, almost, as changing a tire. Doctors were notoriously insufficient in the World War, and they found their tasks unpleasantly dangerous in the future, Mr. Nitsche thinks war robot doctors will attend to the injuries of robot soldiers. There will also be hospitals where all the equipment will be mechanical, reeking no more of blood and antiseptics but of machine oil.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Sep202009

International Travel of the Future (1932)

This illustration of international travel in the future, complete with robotic red-cap porters, appeared in the December 4, 1932 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX). It seems that all you need to do is step into the tube of your choice, then be shot out via capsule to your final destination.

The design has a very Rube Goldberg feel to it. Why one must first go down a slide, before ascending stairs couldn't be confirmed by presstime. The caption that accompanied the illustration is below.

INSTANTANEOUS INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL -- The artist here suggests the passenger terminals of the future, which, he thinks, will look quite different from the present steamship pier or railroad station. It will be noticed that everybody is equipped with a little personal radio antenna, and the arrivals and departures are announced by a mechanical man, while the red-cap porter is replaced by a robot who handles the luggage.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Jul262009

Robots for Romantic Old Maids (1928)

The July 1, 1928 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) ran a syndicated story titled, "Romantic Old Maids Can Hear the Words of Love They Long For."

The excerpt below tells the tale of a futuristic unmarried woman who keeps a robot under her bed. This automated man, which was naturally all the rage in 1929, gives her all the love and attention no "mortal man" will give her. The woman, even in such a contrived environment, must feign astonishment that a "man" would be in her bedroom.

I found it interesting that an article from the 1920s would mention the existence of gigolos (who of course, only exist in Europe). The article explains that such gigolos, who "pay attention" to old and unattractive ladies of wealth, will now be put out of work by these gear-driven casanovas. And here you thought the idea of sexbots was new...

At the same rate of progress it should not require more than a decade or so before a person can go to a store and pick out from the show case most any kind of automatic man or woman he or she might fancy -- an ideal servant or workman who would ask no food or wages but a little current and an occasional drop of oil; or even a flattering admirer could be purchased who would whisper in a neglected wife's ear, all the nice things that a busy husband forgets to say.

In this happy future, no old maid need look under the bed for a man, in vain. He would always be there and such a nice man, a perfect imitation of her favorite matinee idol or film star, with blond or dark hair, moustache or clean shaven, anything her heart desired. These would be stock models, turned out in quantity production and quite reasonable in price. This year probably a "Lindy" model would have been a big seller. Or, if the customer is willing to pay a little more and have one made to order, the manufacturer might send artists and photographers to some notorious lounge-lizard and deliver a perfect counterfeit of him. She could order the late Rudolf Valentine's face and John Barrymore's voice or most any other combination.

The present crude automations can be made to start on most any combination of tones, therefore the man under the bed might be set to react at the words:

"Sir! What are you doing there?"

At that cue he would crawl out and on bended knees, pour out words from 1,000 feet of phonofilm, revealing his hopeless passion for the love-starved old maid, telling her how beautiful she is and all the other sweet things that somebody out to have said but no mortal had bothered to.

When she tired of hearing this over and over, a word of encouragement would be the end to slide into place in his manly chest, another reel and at the same time he could sit beside her on the couch or take her on his substantial knees, embracing her with a tireless mechanical arm. The introduction of this kind of automation would throw out of work a small army of "gigolos," young men who in Europe, pay attention to old and unattractive ladies of wealth, for a consideration.

You can read the entire article here.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Jul042009

Letters by 4th Graders to the Year 2000 (1976)

The July 4, 1976 Grand Prairie Daily News (Grand Prairie, TX) published letters written by 4th graders, addressed to people of the year 2000. Just as the newspaper did, I've left the spelling and grammatical errors. Because if we've learned anything at the Paleo-Future blog, it's that kids are stupid.

We'll begin by looking at letters by young Laurie Smith, Yolanda Tejeda, and R.C. Brown. These kids really hit all the major futurism topics of the 20th century: robot maids, moving sidewalks, flying cars, meal pills, push button everything, education through television, socialism, and candy. Lots of candy.

 

Dear Janice,

In the year 2000 I think that cars can fly in the air as fast as they want to without using gas. You can get whatever you want, including candy. Houses will be way up in the sky. You can have robots to do the housework for the mothers. Instead of walking, the the sidewalks will move for you.

Your friend,

Laurie Smith

 

Dear John,

In the year 2000 I think thay kids will be taught at home on their T.V. The army will be using lazor guns. Cars will be like spaceships and the strreetlights will be on long tall poles. Another means of transportation will be push buttons. Select where you want to go, push a button, step through a door, and you'll be where you wanted to be.

Food will be in tablet form, put on water on the tablet and your food will be on your plate.

Sincerely yours,

R.C. Brown

 

Dear Laurie,

I think in the year 2000 the earth will be much more polluted than it is.

I also think that we will have no more school, and cars can go as fast as they want without getting a ticket.

The government will pay every person as much as they want without them having to work. I also think we will be out of energy for stores or anything that uses fuel in the year 2000.

Sincerely,

Yolanda Tejeda

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Jun162009

Manufactured Working Robots (1980s)

DC-1: Drink Caddy Robot (1979) - Android Amusement Corp


The Robot Exhibit: History, Fantasy and Reality was at the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Arts and Design) from January 13, 1984 - May 11, 1984. These six robots appeared as the "manufactured working robots" of the exhibit and are featured in the book The Robot Exhibit: History, Fantasy and Reality. The manufactured robots were differentiated from the "handmade working robots" in that they were manufactured by corporations in an effort to educate, entertain or perform a specific function.

These robots seem to demonstrate the way in which we believed robots would evolve; as domestic servants, meant to cater to our needs through very literal, real-world applications. "Bring me another drink, TOT!"

It appears that some of the companies that produced these robots, like RB Robotics, are still around.

 

Topo (1983) - Androbot, Inc.


ComRo I (1981) - ComRo, Inc.


Tot (1982) - ComRo Inc.


Robocycle (1983) - Robot Repair (Sacramento, CA)


RB5X: The Intelligent Robot (1982) - RB Robot Corporation

 

Previously on Paleo-Future: