From the Editors
Back in the 1990s, automation first appeared in Polish certain households in the form of a Japanese dog named Aibo. The little robot was like a real pooch: it barked, dozed, peed, even fell sick. A very good solution for a child, parents concluded. The educational benefits remained – it needed to be given food and water, petted and entertained – but not to be regularly walked. It was just a toy, which like other such objects would one day end up sitting in a corner, and so it did not trigger a cultural and technological revolution. Such a revolution nevertheless came soon thereafter when extraordinary, intriguing and mysterious devices, called personal computers, turned up in some Polish households. When friends brought such a PC back from more advanced countries, they would organize a party to showcase their new prize.
It was curiously awe-inspiring and underwhelming at the same time. For us, bought up on Stanisław Lem’s “Star Diaries” and George Lucas’s “Star Wars,” automation had always seemed to involve gigantic machines, humanoid robots, and spaceships chock full of complicated devices that took unimaginable sums of government money to create. But here, on our desk, stood just a screen and keyboard, connected by cables to a smallish box.
Today automation is truly at arm’s reach for everyone – never farther away than our smartphone – but who knows whether it might now be even more mysterious. We know that there are robots and applications out there to solve any problem. We understand that they are very person-like and are indeed replacing people everywhere: in production, services, banking, logistics. They are soon meant to appear in such fields as child-rearing and caring for the elderly.
Obviously, an issue of Academia magazine can only showcase a mere fraction of the possibilities that automation technologies are ushering in. And given how inventive scientists and R&D engineers are, we will probably have to revisit the topic again and again in the near future.
Table of Contents:
Geography Poland’s Shrinking Midsize | download
I Just Need a Microphone | download
Bringing an End to Unkindness | download
Dedication Brings Success | download
Literature Lem’s Vision | download
PIOTR TRYJANOWSKI, PATRYCJA K. KWIATKOWSKA
Parasitology Malicious Little Manipulators | download
Psychology Pay Attention to Awareness | download
Cardiac Surgery Life-giving Robots | download
Literary Studies Reading the Unwritten | download
Biology So Much Knowledge, So Little | download
Robotics A Delicate Touch | download
Engineering Can Mixing Be Smart? | download
Predicting Gravitational Waves | download
Physics Tales of a Particle Hunter | download
WOJCIECH FENDLER, DARIUSZ JEMIELNIAK
Comment I Search, Therefore I Know Not | download
IN THE LENS:
Six Nuclear Women | download
Ripples in Spacetime | download