Japan stands out for its long love affair with humanoid robots, a phenomenon that is creating what will likely be the world's first mass robot culture. While U.S. companies have produced robot vacuum cleaners and war machines, Japan has created warm and fuzzy life-like robot therapy pets. While the U.S. makes movies like "Robocop" and "The Terminator," Japan is responsible for the friendly Mighty Atom
. While the U.S. sponsors robot-on-robot destruction contests, Japan's feature tasks that mimic nonviolent human activities. The Steven Spielberg film, "AI," was a disaster at the world box office-except in Japan, where it was a huge hit. Why is this? What can account for Japan's unique relationship with robots as potential colleagues in life, rather than as potential adversaries? Loving the Machine
attempts to answer this fundamental query by looking at Japan's historical connections with robots, its present fascination and leading technologies, and what the future holds. Through in-depth interviews with scientists, researchers, historians, artists, writers and others involved with or influenced by robots today, author Timothy N. Hornyak looks at robots in Japan from the perspectives of culture, psychology and history, as well as technology; and brings understanding to an endlessly evolving subject. From the Edo-period humanoid automatons, through popular animation icons and into the high tech labs of today's researchers into robotic action and intelligence, the author traces a fascinating trail of passion and development.