Will you one day live with a robot? How might we understand and prepare for the coming ‘robotization’ of society that many technologists desire and futurists forecast? This book argues that while an interdisciplinary approach involving AI, engineering, philosophy, psychology, legal and policy studies is necessary, social theory is especially well-attuned to help us structure debates about our future social life with robots. The robots of the near-future are highly unlikely to have anything like human intelligence, so this book argues that we think of them as distinctly material things – automated and perhaps autonomous physical technologies that will re-shape and re-tool the spaces and relations of our everyday lives. They will do this through their applications and capacities but also through the meanings and identities we associate with them. Combining theory with evidence from a range of case studies, this book approaches robots as central figures in our ‘modern socio-technical imaginaries’. It considers the cultural history of robots, the field of social robotics, debates in robot ethics, and emerging robotic prototypes and policies. It provides an innovative sociologically and philosophically-informed approach to policy debates on how we respond to this new social world – whatever robotic forms may eventually emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication statusIn preparation - 2021

    Research areas

  • Robots, automation, social theory

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