Robots That Kill

Deadly Machines and Their Precursors in Myth, Folklore, Literature, Popular Culture and Reality


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About the Book

This book describes real-world killer robots using a blend of perspectives. Overviews of technologies, such as autonomy and artificial intelligence, demonstrate how science enables these robots to be effective killers. Incisive analyses of social controversies swirling around the design and use of killer robots reveal that science, alone, will not govern their future. Among those disputes is whether fully-autonomous, robotic weapons should be banned. Examinations of killers from the golem to Frankenstein’s monster reveal that artificially-created beings like them are precursors of real 21st century killer robots. This book laces the death and destruction caused by all these killers with science and humor. The seamless combination of these elements produces a deeper and richer understanding of the robots around us.

About the Author(s)

Judith A. Markowitz has run a Chicago consulting firm for forty years. She has published well over one hundred articles and book chapters, numerous technical reports, and six books.

Bibliographic Details

Judith A. Markowitz

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 247
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6813-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3639-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I: Motivation 13
Revenge 14
Greed 33
Furor: Robots as Job Killers 57
Part II: Crime 65
Criminals 66
Enforcers 82
Superheroes & Supervillains 104
Furor: Making Robots Moral 119
Part III: War 125
Humanoids 127
Non-Humanoids 148
Humans 172
Furor: LAWS 193
Glossary 211
Notes 213
Bibliography 215
Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “In this survey of the myths, archetypal frameworks, and characteristics of contemporary killer machines, Markowitz identifies the ways perceptions of robots have evolved over time and in various cultures….offer[s] insight into the hopes, fears, and expectations for machines and their role in popular media….offers plenty to delve into”—Booklist
  • “Judith A. Markowitz is a very knowledgeable and entertaining writer. She makes it easy for non-technical people to understand technology of the future and enables all of us to think more clearly about how that future will affect our lives.”—James A. Larson, PhD, Program Chair, Speech Technology Conference
  • “Dr. Markowitz presented to a large group of students at my school. Her presentation was thoughtful, engaging and interactive; the students thoroughly enjoyed it.”—Jennifer Smith, director, EF International Campus, Chicago
  • “Distinguished scholar, entrepreneur, technology pioneer—Judith Markowitz brings a world of experience, credibility, intelligence, and sheer talent to whatever she undertakes. Our world of literature is richer for her presence.”—Katherine V. Forrest, author of the award-winning Kate Delafield series.