Our fascination with robots is not new. In an article published at his LinkedIn page, Santiago Íñiguez points out that “Homer tells in The Illiad how Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, created two golden maidens in his forge to keep him company, endowing them each with the powers of speech and reason”. Centuries later, “Ovid’s Metamorphosis has Pygmalion carving a statue that he falls in love with, and which eventually comes to life”.
Discussing human fascination with robots, Íñiguez also looks at more modern examples. After all, films and television still dedicate many efforts to our complex relationship with new technologies, as seen in Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Blade Runner: “the job of the film’s hero is to liquidate rogue replicants, but of course, echoing Pygmalion, he falls in love, eventually fleeing with her, unsure if he can program her to live longer, and so coming to terms with our other obsession, mortality”.
Íñiguez, Dean at IE Business School, even makes the following comment:
“In fairness, perhaps love really is the acid test of our relationship with automatons: if we can accept the idea of affection flowering between us and them, then surely it is just a short step to establishing other kinds of emotional ties such as friendship or the unique bond that can develop between a teacher and a pupil”
When re-examining our complex relationship with robots, the manufacturing sector certainly comes to mind as a central stage to the entire process. Industrial companies have always relied on the latest technologies in order to accelerate change and increase their efficiency. However, human greatness has always been behind it all, designing those next steps and anticipating the ones that will follow. Man and robot, hand in hand, once again.
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