Robot Mothers week!

May 13, 2019

 

 

 

In science fiction, robots can serve as mother surrogates to humans, either for good or ill. Becky Chamber’s A Closed and Common Orbit touchingly incorporates bad robot mothers and good robot mothers in a single plot line. Of course, it is more fun when the robot mother is bad so let’s see how Sundance favorite I Am Mother with Hillary Swank turns out when it is released in June. We may soon have an opportunity to determine if robot mothering is a good thing or a bad thing as the Japanese are pushing ahead on robots for child care even though studies indicated that small children raised with robots and technology lose empathy, see this disturbing report www.psychologytoday.com. People can serve as mothers to robots, remember Dr. Susan Calvin adopting a brain-wiped robot in the Asimov short story Lenny or Dr. Nora Wakeman in the cartoon series My Life as a Teenage Robot? And, of course, D.A.R.Y.L.’s adopted mom loved him (we love you too!).  And robots can be mothers to their own family of robots, as entertainingly presented in Spielberg’s  *Batteries Not Included (see the RTSF discussion here). Robot families, or at least offspring that improve certain traits over time, are being simulated by scientists in the real world.  Speaking of raising robots, the idea that robots or AIs would grow up in protected, high controlled nurseries is showing up in scifi quite a bit, see The Robots of Gotham (see RTSF discussion here) and Embers of War. So give your Mom a hug!

 

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