The Robots Are Coming

Posters on buses and various adverts around Manchester have been announcing “The Robots Are Coming.” Our attention was grabbed, we wanted to find out more so headed to the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Robots Exhibition was at the Science Museum in London, it has moved now to Manchester and will be here for a few months so a visit was a must for us. We went during Son’s two week half term at the end of October. Most schools have a one week break, we timed it during the second week and it was not busy at all.

Entrance to the Science and Industry Museum is free, however for some of these special exhibitions there is a charge, this was one of those times.

There are over 100 robots of all shapes and sizes in the exhibition. The creepy baby at the entrance was a taster…

The attention to detail is incredible here, we were mesmerized by this baby and how it sneezed, “breathed” and moved its limbs.

A section about the history of robots and how robotics have been used for over 500 years is quite interesting but a bit heavy and lots of information to read and take in. We did try, Son though was desperate to get through here and see the robots proper.

There are early prosthetic limbs on display and metal robots that reminded me a bit of the “for mash get smash” adverts from years ago.

The Terminator robot from the famous movies is on display and looks every bit as sinister as you would imagine, a robot nightmare.

The most interesting section for us was the latest developments in robots and robotic research. Our favourite was the Japanese girl robot. She is eerily life like, was designed for a Japanese museum and reads the news. Every twenty minutes she reads a story relating to robotics. We stared at her for ages watching as she blinked, moved her eyes and her limbs in an unnervingly realistic way.

They had lots of information on developments in robotic research and how robots are being built and “trained” to interact and even think like humans. Food for thought and for me just a bit unsettling.

Son’s favourite robot was at the exit of the museum. A big fan of the TV show Humans, he pointed out the likeness to Mia, one of the “synths” in that show.

After all those robots we decided to stroll around the Castlefield area of the city.

The sun was shining, it was a glorious autumn day and fresh air was well received.

Canals feature strongly here, the cobbles and canal boats make for a tranquil and lovely walk. The perfect end to an interesting afternoon.

41 thoughts on “The Robots Are Coming

  1. I think I must have read a review of this when it was in London: some of it looks very familiar. Unsettling as you say, though thinking about the Smash advert smooths that over a bit!

  2. The layout looks almost identical to how it was set up at the Science Museum in London, and I’m happy to see that my favourite sad nameless robot is still there. I have to ask – was Harry playing his trumpet whilst you were there? He wasn’t working when I saw him in London, and I was upset because he was the robot I most wanted to see in action!

  3. Those robots convinced me we should buy Smash when I was a child but my mother always made her own. When I eventually tried it, I realised Mum’s was best! Still have fond memories of the ads though 🙂

    • It is more than a bit unsettling, we read about how they are starting to “learn” like babies do….. freaky!! I would not have liked to be here with the Japanese girl robot on my own – something about her freaked me out completely.

  4. A very good idea for a half term activity Joy. I would definitely have found some of it unsettling and a bit scary to be quite honest! I think I prefer robots looking like robots not humans a bit like the one in Star Wars.The walk round the canals would have been a lovely way to end the day! 🙂

    • That’s exactly how I like my robots to be too Rosemary – like robots!! The Japanese girl was so lifelike and more than a bit freaky. It was an interesting thing to see though, just left me wondering…. The walk at the end was gorgeous, we needed fresh air and this was the perfect way to get some.

  5. We didn’t go to see the Robots at the Science Museum I thought my boy would be a little young. But it does look fascinating and asks a lot of questions of the role of robots in our lives and how far we go… I love Humans too, and Mia looks so real!

    • It was interesting but fairly heavy, I think little ones would have found it hard going, there was a lot to read and take in and the robots I don’t think would appeal to the very young so much. It was good for us though and as for Mia…. it made us stop in our tracks!!

  6. Really interesting exhibit, thanks for letting us get a peak inside if we can’t go to the real thing.
    A friend of mine is “seeing” an AI therapist. That idea terrifies and depresses me. But hopefully we come into a more human balance with robots as an instrument. And that we figure out wth that really means!

  7. What an interesting exhibition, Joy. I share your reservations on the lifelike robots though! I think I’d also prefer them to look and behave less like humans, and to look more like robots. Rather unsettling…

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