Robots, automata, cyborgs, androids, etc… all synonymous with the same thing? Absolutely not!
The exhibition entitled “Robot, the Human Project” focuses precisely on the exploration of this world which to most may seem not so vast and all in all flattened into a concept of modern ideas. But futurism has always been part of the human soul, like its evolution and imagining how to live in harmony with it.
I invite you on this journey made of wires, wiring and mechanical parts, but above all of a lot of humanity. From deus ex machina to modern robots and their surprising prototypes, witnesses of an evolution that seems to know no borders.
The exhibition can be visited until August 1, 2021, at the Mudec – Museo delle Culture of Milan.

Automata, Robots & Bionics

  • Automata

The former were already present in the Hellenistic era, and then evolved during the Middle Ages and saw a real expansion between the Renaissance and the Baroque.
Their purpose was to imitate life, to create illusions that could surprise, but also disturb.
Their use was purely ornamental as they did not help man in any way in his daily activities.
Among the first to try their hand at such creations there is nothing less than Leonardo da Vinci and in fact in this period, and the next, that automatons become the soul of parties and shows with the aim of surprising.
In the nineteenth century they take a more sober and furnishing form and here we have some of the most elegant works of goldsmith and watchmaking.

  • Robots

The word first appears in the drama “Rossum’s Universal Robots” and comes from a Czech word meaning work, servile and ravenous.
Here, then, is that the robot has the ultimate purpose of freeing man from physical fatigue. However, if in the past this raises moral and ethical doubts, leading artists to create novels such as Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot” or films such as Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, in the present acquires more practical outlines.
The purposes of robotics, as well as their use and interaction with the animal and plant worlds, as well as in the military field, opens up unimaginable and useful perspectives for research and defense purposes.
However, ethical dilemmas remain and today man wonders about the responsibility for their actions.

  • Bionis

Since the past, when man ran into physical incapacities, he found a way to remedy it. Whether it was a sturdy branch used as a crutch, in order to support oneself in the face of an injured leg, or to replace part of organs with artificial elements.
Hence, bionics was born to integrate the artificial with the organic in order to improve human health.
Biomedical, for example, deals with the construction of prostheses to replace amputated limbs, while electroceutics treats metabolic disorders through electrical stimulation of the autonomic nervous system.
However, what helps can become ethically compromising when it comes to augmentation, i.e. the possibility of strengthening a healthy body. The debate is open and needless to say that I already have my opinion on the matter!

Cyborgs, Androids/Droids & Artificial Intelligence

  • Cyborgs

Their definition comes from the union between man and machine.
Term is mostly narrative and in fact it’s possible to find it in films or novels in which humans are usually veterans of terrible accidents after which they are subjected to mechanical grafts. The incredible abilities they give them come at a price: their humanity.
The quintessential symbol of this trend is the fearsome Darth Vader, from the “Star Wars” saga, who hides his appearance behind a disturbing mask without which he would die.

  • Androids & Droids

Their main feature derives from the fact that their features resemble those of humans. Often it’s just body shape or posture, sometimes even looks are.
This path started many centuries ago, today it is a reality that is at times disturbing. How does the human being react in front of a faithful but mechanical copy of himself? Can you create an empathic bond with that creation?
Although the words android and droid are very similar they are not the only thing.
In the first case there is a human component, in the second no. However, it too is strictly linked to the world of fiction. Their purpose is mainly that of being unity at the service of man, all however not excluding the possibility of developing one’s own personality. This often makes the droids real characters: does BB8 or R2-D2 of the “Star Wars” saga tell you anything?

  • Artificial Intelligence

The journey that leads to it’s very long and starts in the mid-1950s where, thanks to Olivetti, there is a real boom in Machine Learning. This is the concept that the machine is capable of learning. This is the basis for Artificial Intelligence.
Its learning ability takes place in two phases: first it is allied by making her repeat the same action many times and then it is put to the test.
Flexible and determined to achieve the goals set for its, it is, however, unable to make decisions because it doesn’t attribute values ​​to events other than those established by man. Does that make you responsible for your mistakes, if any?