Inspired by the book Wonderland: How the Power of Play Made the Modern World, the podcast “Wonderland with Steve Johnson”, recently featured BCNM’s Ken Goldberg and Kate Darling to look at the “uncanny world of emotional robotics” and the story of Charles Babbage, a young boy who becomes obsessed with a mechanical dancer.
Below is an excerpt from the podcast:
“Now one of the reasons I’m obsessed with this story about Charles Babbage and this mechanical dancer is that looking back, we can see it as a kind of preview of coming attractions, I mean, at the time it seemed to be literally child’s play – an 8 -year old boy becoming obsessed with a toy doll. But here we are, 200 years later and the idea of developing an emotional connection to a mechanical device doesn’t seem all that childish. Now whenever I’ve a question about robots or artificial intelligence I always call my friend Ken Goldberg, who’s head of the robotics program at Berkeley.”
Wonderland is a series about the past and future of play and innovation hosted by Steven Johnson, bestselling author and co-creator of the PBS series “How We Got To Now”. Necessity isn’t always the mother of invention; some of our most important ideas arise out of moments of playful exploration. Inspired by Johnson’s new book, Wonderland: How Play Made The Modern World, the podcast features conversations about creativity and invention with leading contemporary scientists, programmers, musicians, and more. Wonderland is brought to you by Microsoft, and by Riverhead Books.