They caused a sensation when they first appeared in the 1990s but now robots COG and Kismet are not enough for the man who helped create them. Rodney Brooks, professor of robotics at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, wants more. In his new book Robot: The future of flesh and machines, he argues that there’s something lacking in our maths. We need “new stuff” that will zero in on the vital difference between living and non-living systems and help us transform robots from the lumbering arms of the car factory or the single-use cute little home machines.

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