Man has created machines in the form of mechanical humans since antiquity. The sculpted faces of the early automatons gave us a glimpse of the future we currently live in. Some of today’s machines look like humans, move like humans, talk like humans, and at a rapidly increasing pace even think like humans. We marvel at the technological capabilities of these robots and how they are being integrated into our daily lives. At the same time, we fearfully watch how robots reach human potential. The process to create robots that aid and interact with humans in many aspects of life and work started hundreds of years ago and has led to robots in all shapes, sizes and utilities.
Today a technical revolution is taking place that changes life, work and relationships between humans and machines. Those in the know call it the fourth industrial revolution and say that the scale and complexity of this change is more impactful to our existence than what we have ever experienced in human history. As a photographer Wanda is inspired to mark, document and visualize this important period in scientific development with an extensive series of robot images that define and describe the evolution of these robots.
The industrial revolution has replaced much human labor with robotic machines. These machines were able to perform functions that were first designed for human workers. These early industrial robots didn’t look like humans, and the spaces where these robots functioned had to be redesigned. Later we realized that if we make robots in human form and give them many of the human sensory and motor abilities, they can be used more easily where humans are used. This is especially true when human labor is scarce, dangerous, physically taxing or extremely tedious. Unlike the introduction of industrial robots, the space where human work works no longer needed to be completely redesigned. They can be more easily introduced into society. Examples where humanoids work like humans are nurses in hospitals who help patients, store products in supermarkets, or teach dance lessons. These robots are often hard and stiff to the touch and lack any opportunities for meaningful social interactions. If robots really became an integral part of the society in which humans and robots work and live together, they also had to become more human in their cognitive and social capacities. This has led to the evolutionary branch of androids and furry classmates. Humanoid robots are still being developed, with SoftBank’s service robot Pepper being the most well-known, but in the evolutionary Android branch, David Hanson’s Sophia has gained unparalleled robot popularity.