Fear of Robots

Robot at 10 Downing StreetShould we fear robots? They haven’t taken charge of the country yet (as far as we know) even though for many years they have been taking our jobs. Just think about the number of people that used to be employed on production lines. When I first left school, I spent three months working in a factory that made suitcases. There was very little automation back in the 1970s, so it took a large number of people to carry out all the work, one stage at a time.

I searched the internet for “fear of robots” and found the following examples. No doubt there are more, but if the robot age – which we are certainly at the start of now – brings a time of peace, leisure, space exploration and learning for the human race, then why should we fear robots at all? The most important thing we should remember is the location of their “off” switch!

Automatonophobia
A fear of anything that falsely represents a sentient being. This includes ventriloquist dummies (which I can well understand), animatronic creatures, mannequins, and wax statutes. I would not normally be concerned about a visit to Madame Tussauds, but can you imagine being there after it closed, armed with just a torch?

Frankenstein complex
A term coined by Isaac Asimov in his robot novels for the fear of mechanical men.

Robophobia
An anxiety disorder in which the sufferer has an irrational fear of robots, drones, robot-like mechanics or artificial intelligence. This can result in a panic attack triggered by just viewing a robot or being near one.

Technophobia
The fear of advanced technology or complex devices.

Uncanny Valley
The best definition I have found for this is from http://www.urbandictionary.com:
First theorised by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970, the Uncanny Valley basically states that the closer a robot or other nonhuman entity gets to resembling a human, the more humans will like and empathise with it. However, there is a point in development where humans instead become strongly repulsed by the barely-human robot/entity.

Here is a short video with a bit more information:

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