Tales from a Robotic World, MIT Press

© 2022 EPFL

© 2022 EPFL

Dario Floreano and Nicola Nosengo describe new trends in robotics research and how they will impact our lives in a not-so-distant future. The authors also presents possible economic and social scenarios, and what could go wrong.

Robotics is undergoing a major shift where soft materials, self-learning, bionics, and socio-economic needs will lead to intelligent machines with unprecedented capabilities, shapes, functions, and human interactions. In this book we describe the latest trends in robotics research with examples from labs around the world, interviews of researchers, and analysis of economic, ethical, and legal aspects. Roboticst are often asked about future perspectives of their research. Here we build on long-term visions discussed by scientists and develop scenarios, or tales, where robots will affect our lives in a not-so-distant future.

Dario Floreano and Nicola Nosengo, Tales from a Robotic World, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., 2022

In praise of

"Dario Floreano has spent decades at the forefront of bio-inspired flocks, swarms, and schools of robots. This timely book weaves explanations of current technology with future stories of how robots will impact our lives in the turbulent decades ahead." -Rodney Brooks, Emeritus Professor of Robotics, MIT; author of Flesh and Machines and Cambrian Intelligence.

"Dario Floreano and Nicola Nosengo combine scientific grounding, mind-expanding creativity, and spellbining writing to describe a set of fascinating potential futures for the robotic world." - Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, Stanford Digital Economy Lab; coauthor of The Second Machine Age


"[...] Subtitled “how intelligent machines will shape our future”, this is a collection of scenarios rather than stories intercut with essays on real-world advances in robotics. At times the reportage is a lot stranger than the fiction — did you know that “food bites that swim in your soup may soon be available in restaurants”? Be assured the authors — the roboticist Dario Floreano and the science magazine editor Nicola Nosengo — are not making any of this up. Every speculation is grounded in genuine research, picked over with a keen and critical eye. Some may ask: “But is it science fiction?” Certainly such works feed science fiction and have done since the founding of Popular Mechanics in 1902. Floreano and Nosengo are at pains to say that they are not in competition with the “real” writers — but they do a cracking job." -The Times

"There have been a lot of books on artificial intelligence and robotics of late, and I was entirely prepared for this book to be a case of ‘same old, same old’, but in reality it was delightfully different. Dario Floreano and Nicola Nosengo set out to explore the future of robotics (typically in the 2040s/2050s) in a series of scenarios which involve telling a short science fiction story, but interlacing it with sections on where the technology is now and how it can be developed. [...]" - Popular Science