Category Archives: Robots

Spacers and Robots

In the Robot series novels by Isaac Asimov, humanity is divided into two groups: Spacers who have colonized space, and those who have remained on Earth. The main difference between these two groups is the use of robots. In Asimov’s universe, Earth has banned the use of robots, whilst Spacer use robots for everything.

Though Asimov gives a weak explanation for this state of affairs in his novels, his vision is quite plausible. It’s my hypothesis that future Space Settlements will more likely to become dependent upon robots, than terrestrial societies.

Here on Earth the overall majority of people depends upon jobs to survive. Hence becoming unemployed is one of the modern man’s greatest fears. Robots and automation are a potential threat to the jobs of large numbers of people, hence many people might oppose further automation, regardless of this threat is real or imaginary. For this reason trade unions might lobby governments to restrict the use of robots, and related social-democratic parties might introduce such policies in order to appeal to a large portion of the electorate.

In Space Settlements, however, labour will be scarce and hence expensive. This would create a great incentive to invest in robots and automation in general. And because the small number of people in Space Settlements, massive opposition towards robots will be absent. Consequently Space colonists are more likely to stimulate robots, whereas terrestrial governments might be tempted to restrict robots for electoral gain.

For your amusement, here a few YouTube videos of quite spectacular advancements in robotics:

HRP-4C Miim’s Human-like Walking

Creepily realistic robot can hold conversations and answer questions

Robot Actress Steals the Show