Tag Archives: Robot

Wanted: Young hands to help build a robot.


A woman in her 80s approached me today in the kids department and said she was looking at the Meccano.  She had never seen it before, in Canada.

She told me she always wanted to play with Meccano as a child, but her father told her she wasn’t allowed because she was a girl.  She looked at her hands, and held them out, and said, “My hands are probably too old now, that I am finally brave enough to not listen.”  I mentioned that one of my daughters is in the robotics club at school, and the other one is waiting to be old enough to be allowed to join.  She smiled and said “Good.  You are smart.  I am so glad.  I was stupid, to let my father tell me that girls could not be engineers.  Could not be mechanics.  That I could not play with Meccano.  Your girls will not be stupid.”

I found myself being very grateful for my own father, who bought me a toolbox at a young age, taught me to build a computer from scratch, and never made me think being female had any impact on my intelligence or ability.  He also bought a Meccano set for my daughter last Christmas.

Someone needs to build a robot with this woman.  If I see her again, it may be me.  I just hope I can find her again.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Retail

Robopocalypse – The tech version of the zombie apocalypse?



Robots have been scary for a long time.  Would it surprise you to find out that I, Robot, by Isaac Aasimov, was published in 1950? But the idea of machines taking over people, or people secretly being machines, is to my mind a new version of the zombie trope.  Representing that theme very well are the two (so far) books by Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse and Robogenesis.  People’s fears of military robots and drones are well founded in this story of a world where putting artificial intelligence in charge of war is a very, very bad idea.  A kind of cross between the future seen in Terminator, where humans and machines are at war, and the Matrix, where the machines are taking over humans – a small group of survivors is trying to eliminate the machine threat.  Creepy, all too imaginable, and very gripping, I highly recommend both books.   You’ll never look at Siri the same way.


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Filed under Books, geek lit, zombies