This book explores the making of robots in labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It examines the cultural ideas that go into the making of robots, and the role of fiction in co-constructing the technological practices of the robotic scientists. The book engages with debates in anthropological theorizing regarding the way that robots are reimagined as intelligent, autonomous and social and weaved into lived social realities. Richardson charts the move away from the “worker” robot of the 1920s to the “social” one of the 2000s, as robots are reimagined as companions, friends and therapeutic agents.
Introduction: Annihilation Anxiety and Machines 1. Revolutionary Robots 2. Out of Body Minds 3. Social Robots 4. The Gender of the Geek 5. The Dissociated Robot 6. Fantasy and Robots. Conclusion: Loving the Attachment Wounded Robot