Episode #403

Robot, Fembot, Old Timey

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Saturday, January 18, 2003

Kurt Andersen and scientist Rodney Brooks look at how metal men are jumping from pop culture into real life. Visit thousands of robot toys in a big red barn outside Spokane. Sexpert Susie Bright surveys female robots on film, from The Stepford Wives to the deadly Fembots. And a jazz pioneer gives over some control to his virtual Frankenstein.

Guests:

Rodney Brooks

Commentary: Counting Culture

With the new year comes a bundle of 2002 statistics that measure the amount of culture Americans consumed last year. But as Studio 360's Kurt Andersen noticed, those numbers don't tell the whole story.

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Now Playing: Old Timey Music

Portland Oregon is the unlikely center of old-timey, jug-band music. The city just wrapped up its the fourth annual Old-Time Music Gathering and the people who came out to out to hear and play early gospel, country, and folk weren’t the nineteen-sixties holdovers you'd expect. Some have blue hair ...

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Special Guest: Rodney Brooks

Kurt Andersen and Rodney Brooks the world's preeminent creator of robotic creatures talk about the culture of robots.

Rodney Brooks is a scientist, professor, and director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. He is the inventor of many robots, including the Roomba, the intelligent vacuum cleaner. His latest book, Flesh ...

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Robot Hut

The toy collector John Rigg began wiring circuits in kindergarten. He was still little when he gave his mom a cardboard robot he built with motors, electric lights, and a little candy-filled drawer. Today, John Rigg displays thousands of “metal men” in a big barn ...

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The Fembot Factor

Most of the robots you know from the movies are male. There’s Robbie the Robot, C-3PO, Data the sensitive android on Star Trek, and the violent cyborgs of Terminator and Robocop. But what about the female robots? Writer Susie Bright has some thoughts on the ways they’ve been ...

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Voyager

The Voyager computer program is a powerful robot. It composes music — improvised, unpredictable music — using a virtual 64-piece orchestra. The Voyager’s inventor, George Lewis, improvises with his robotic partner, and creates music that we’d like to think only humans could make. Produced by Ted Panken.

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