How can we compare and contrast robots and humans?

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nanmarc eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Addressing this question is a bit complicated since the definition of "robot" can differ depending on whether one's ideas align more closely with science or with science fiction. Let's agree for now that a robot is an artificially intelligent life-form with some sort of body that is able to sense and respond to stimuli; for further exploration of what constitutes a robot, see the sources linked below.

The most obvious difference at a glance is that while humans and robots both have bodies, human bodies are all similar in biological makeup and physical features, while robots can differ from one another in endless ways. A robot may be microscopic or quite large, and while it could be designed to have a human-like appearance, it may alternately have an entirely unique set of physical features. A robot can be built to whatever specifications its creator designs.

Humans and robots both think and possess intelligence, but a robot's intelligence is programmable by computer, while human intelligence is not. Humans are capable of reason and logic, and while robots can sense and respond to environmental stimuli, responses are limited by the algorithms with which they have been programmed. As algorithms improve, intelligence and skilled responses grow, thus robots can improve upon intelligence and skills much like humans can.

Robots would not exist without the work of humans, whereas humans have long existed without robots. Since robots can theoretically be programmed to undertake any task, and since technology is constantly advancing, one might argue that robots are more powerful than humans. There are many works of literature, movies and television shows that point to robots as a potential threat to mankind; since robots are powerful and can think for themselves, one might argue that if a human developed a robot with a certain deadly combination of knowledge, skills and power, that robot could ultimately overpower any human.

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Myra Pollich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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From Dr. Frankenstein’s horrific experiment in reanimation to its distant relatives, which include Star Trek’s, Commander Data and Schwarzenegger’s intimidating Terminator, sentient beings created in man’s image from inanimate objects have captured the human imagination. Though fully fleshed realizations of either Data’s android or the Terminator cyborg still remain beyond the limits of current technological capability, humans do share certain...

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