Generation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation By Terri Favro Cover Image

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

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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 with a childhood informed by pop-culture robots in movies, in comic books, and on TV in the 1960s, to adulthood where the possibilities of self-driving cars and virtual reality are daily conversation, Terri Favro offers a unique perspective on how our relationship with robotics and futuristic technologies has shifted over time. Peppered with pop-culture fun-facts about Superman’s kryptonite, the human-machine relationships in the cult TV show Firefly, and the sexual and moral implications of the film Ex Machina, Generation Robot explores how the techno-triumphs and resulting anxieties of reality bleed into the fantasies of our collective culture.
Clever and accessible, Generation Robot isn’t just for the serious, scientific reader—it’s for everyone interested in robotics and technology since their science-fiction origins. By looking back at the future she once imagined, analyzing the plugged-in present, and speculating on what is on the horizon, Terri Favro allows readers the chance to consider what was, what is, and what could be. This is a captivating book that looks at the pop-culture of our society to explain how the world works—now and tomorrow.

About the Author

Terri Favro, winner of the CBC Creative Non-fiction Prize for her essay “ Icarus,” is the author of the novels Sputnik’ s Children, Once Upon A Time In West Toronto, and The Proxy Bride, and the co-creator of a series of comic books published by Grey Borders Books. She has written marketing copy for IBM, Apple, Blackberry and LEGO, among others. She lives in Toronto.

Praise For…

"Lavishing attention equally on the evolution of pop culture and scientific fact, Generation Robot is an incredibly entertaining journey through what is shaping up to be the age of the robot."—Daniel H. Wilson, bestselling author of Robopocalypse and How to Survive a Robot Uprising

"What Favro is saying, in prose that is lively and even (in places) tinged with an appealing aura of childlike gosh-wow, is this: for people of her generation, growing up with robots and artificial intelligence didn’t just mean growing up reading about those things in books; it meant watching the world’s most brilliant minds taking other people’s wild ideas and making them real. Favro makes us see and appreciate that it really has been a fantastic voyage. A wonderful book for the SF geek who lurks in all of us."—Booklist, starred review

"Generation Robot offers a new perspective on how people’s relationships with robotics and futuristic technologies have shifted over time, letting readers ponder the way techno-triumphs and resulting anxieties bleed into fantasies of our collective culture."—Publishers Weekly

"Funny, fearless and fascinating, Favro guides us through a century's worth of technologies, tropes and cultural memes, like a peripatetic time traveler sharing favorite moments in time."—Richard Yonck, author of Heart of the Machine

"Terri Favro masterly takes us through a hundred years of society’s relationship with computers and specifically, robots. It’s a wild ride -- from Russian satellites circling overhead during the Cold War, through the age of personal computers and smartphones, to artificial intelligence-based cyber brides professing their eternal love. Terri Favro seamlessly integrates the hyper-pace of technological changes we have all experienced with the impact at a very personal level, affecting our relationships, family life, recreational activities, and careers. Terri Favro has scored a triumph."—Jaime S. Rubin, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Investigator Development, Department of Medicine, Columbia University

"A fascinating, delightful read through the real and imagined story of robots and how people interact with them, through the past, present and future. Favro's reflections on her own interactions with robots, from her father’s home-built inventions to speculations about how robots may assist with her care in twenty years time, bring the science home."—Lorna Gibson, Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

"Generation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation [is] an interesting and funny book about the intersection of science fiction and reality, and Favro blends memoir, tech reporting, and even a bit of science fiction to look at where robots have come from, and where they could be going in the coming decades.”—

"Generation Robot will enlighten readers, as well as baffle, entertain, and stump them with so much information. Favro provides many facts in a lively and personable manner. She will dazzle the reader with the amount and the calibre of the material she has accumulated. Readers will appreciate all the research that went into writing the book."—Accenti magazine

"A creative and reflective look at how our relationship with futuristic technologies have shifted over time. Favro examines fiction, speculation and mixes in some actual fact for an entertaining look at where we’ve been and thought-provoking peek at the possible future."—January Magazine

"Favro has cleverly blended science fiction and pop culture with the facts of artificial intelligence to unravel our decades-long relationship with robots and machines. This is a must-read for those who are interested in robotics and A.I. but have neither the mathematical nor the scientific background to understand A.I.’s technicalities."—

"An interesting and funny book about the intersection of science fiction and reality, and Favro blends memoir, tech reporting, and even a bit of science fiction to look at where robots have come from, and where they could be going in the coming decades."—The Verge