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Generation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  21 reviews
For fans of Mary Roach, a sweetly nostalgic and enlightening exploration of futures past, present, and still to come. 

Generation Robot covers a century of science fiction, fact and, speculation—from the 1950 publication of Isaac Asimov’s seminal robot masterpiece, I, Robot, to the 2050 Singularity when artificial and human intelligence are predicted to merge. Beginning wi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Skyhorse
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Diane Bracuk
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I was born in the middle of the big, fat fifties, a decade stuffed with lardy piecrust, Fluffernutters and fear.” And with that brilliant opening line, Terri Favro takes us on a funny, fascinating, deeply felt journey through her generation’s relationships with robots, artificial intelligence and computers.

Favro, who is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel sci-fi novel Sputnik’s Children, is a master at physical description, creating closely observed worlds both real and imagined.
Artur Coelho
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Uma obra intrigante para juntar às estantes de livros sobre futurismos. Com um ponto de vista único, e raramente visto neste género. Não apregoa apocalipses distópicos nem pinta tudo com um rosa optimista berrante. Não é um livro escrito por alguém ligado ao futurismo ou ao comentário sobre tecnologia. Antes, é uma reflexão muito pessoal, construída a partir de reminiscências de uma vida, amor à ficção científica e pesquisa independente sobre computação, robótica e inteligência artificial.

Não p
Elena Alvarez Dosil
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review originally published at: http://www.lomeraniel.com/audiobookre...

I rarely read non-fiction, but I found the title and premises of this book appealing. Terry Favro explores how robots were conceived in literature and film, and how that translated into reality. We witness the beginning of simple machines like elevators, and then typewriters and computers; how Gates and Jobs started their journey, and the evolution of AI, driverlerss cars, without forgetting the eternal debate about whether
Jan 07, 2022 rated it liked it
Favro presents the current advances in robotics and AI, and their expected near-future developments, in the context of the sci-fi culture of the last 70 years. In a fun and engaging prose Favro takes us from Asimov to the current sci-fi movies as she charts how our current and foreseeable scientific discoveries agree or differ from the fictionalized versions that preceded them. She centers the narrative in her own lifespan discussing the beginnings of automation that her father shared with her a ...more
Kenya Starflight
I admit it, I'm a huge (fictional) robot nut and I picked this book up expecting more of a focus on fictional robots -- but can you blame me when it talks about science fiction directly in the title? That said, Generation Robot is still an informative read, giving an overview of the development of modern-day robots since the 1950s, and speculating on how far robotics and AI may come in 2050. It's definitely not a comprehensive look at robotics, however, and the author's informal tone and tendenc ...more
Hannah Brown
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Terri Favro's Generation Robot—what a surprising pleasure the book is—as if a warm conversationalist is visiting with you, sharing personal stories and upbeat, cool information about past, present, and even future human beings interacting with computers ..er, robots. ( From the notes at the back alone, you know she's done a whack of research, but she has the gift of the light touch and a laugh out loud sense of humour). ...more
Laura Ostermeyer
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fun and enlightening book on not only the past of robots but also, probable future. It's a perfect read for those of us who are delighted and intrigued by robots but do not have a scientific or mathematical background. I highly recommend it! ...more
Jan Exner
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as Interesting as I hoped it would be
Lisa Nikolits
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. Brilliantly written and hilarious, with sharp-as-a-tack insights, observations, past, present and future.

I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything by Amanda Gefter. That book, about which this was said, “In a memoir of family bonding and cutting-edge physics for readers of Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality and Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist?, Amanda Gefter tells the sto
Lori S
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't think much about the technical side of my phone except when the battery is low and I need to charge it. I certainly never think twice about stepping into an elevator and I've never watched an entire episode of Star Trek. What I did do was pick up a copy of the wonderful non-fiction book, Generation Robot. A Century of Science, Fact, and Speculation after hearing author, Terri Favro speak about it. I soon found out that Favro's writing is as captivating as her presentation skills. In the ...more
Akemi G.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
Fine read to review the past few decades of robots, both in science fiction and in real use, and it also predicts the near future of AI/robots such as self-driving vehicles, smart homes, etc.

The first half is interesting; for instance, why do we remain suspicious over "new" technology? If the public don't embrace the new stuff (read: buy it), it gets shelved due to lack of R&D money, so this is a critical question. The quotation marks are added because, often, the technology isn't so new; again
Dorianne Emmerton
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I rarely read non-fiction, but this was conversational, funny, and driven by the authors' own personal narrative, enough that I fully enjoyed it. It explores things like how Asimov's Three Laws still drive much of the industry - and philosophy - of robotics today; the plausibility of the technological singularity; and what a fully automated Internet Of Things household might look like and when we can expect it.

The risk of writing about tech is how soon your words become outdated, and I'm afraid
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man is not machine

3.5 stars, rounding up. Ranging from somewhat interesting to creepy and insane, the book is a round trip of the author's observations and predictions concerning human/robot relationships. Funny enough, I have an ongoing relationship with a robot of my own. I am a land surveyor using a robotic "one man" total station to increase productivity. It is an amazing and wonderful piece of technology that has seen several iterations over the past couple of decades.

The seemingly infinit
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this popular science look at the current status of robotics and AI. I was expecting it to be more of a look at robots as they were portrayed in science fiction from the tag line but it was much more science fact than I thought it would be. it was a pleasant surprise as the writing was good (from an advertising veteran apparently). The visions of the future were funny, the writing was mostly amusing, the personal anecdotes were relatable, the topics were interesting. There were too few ...more
S.E. Martens
Nov 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, canadian
A fun and interesting read. Favro's father worked in a factory in the Niagara Falls area, which my grandfather did as well. Some of the stories of gruesome accidents Favro's father saw on the job were very reminiscent to things my grandfather told us he had seen, so that added a personal layer for me. It really drove home how robots can be used to make jobs safer. As well, robots as aides to the elderly and people with disabilities, is a big part of this book. I looked up videos of some of the r ...more
DJ Linick
This was an interesting look at the development of technology from the beginnings of the "computer" era/SciFi Golden Age to speculations about the near future.

I enjoyed this for the most part, but the notable amount of typographical errors and various informal/frankly annoying choices of words were a bit distracting (of course, that could just be a "me problem").

Either way, the book didn't overstay its welcome, so it gets three stars for getting to the point and getting out while it still could!
Mark Zinck
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Generation Robot. The chapters about past and present were informative. I especially like the visual of two AIs taking turns doing the Turing test! The speculative chapters were also informative, and also forced me to think about the possible future as presented. I recommend this highly!
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting and fun book to listen to.The topics it covered were many.Teri Schnaubelt was a terrific narrator..I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading the antidotes about her father. I enjoyed the fictional little stores that she wrote at the beginning at some of the chapters. Reading the self driving car chapter made me wish there were self driving cars right now. This was a fun book to read.
Al Lock
Good book, entertaining, with a reasonable amount of information. Not extraordinary, but good. If you are interested in robots and the evolution of robotics, this is a "pop science" kind of source. ...more
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Growing up in an immigrant neighbourhood in Canada's Niagara region, Terri Favro was always told that "if there's a nuclear war, we'll be the first to go", due to the proximity of the Niagara hydroelectric station. Her earliest influences were superhero comics, Warner Brothers cartoons, robots, MAD magazine, Narnia, Middle Earth, her Nonno’s deliciously violent Italian fairytales and the Atomic Bo ...more

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