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[Anthropobotic] Robomania, Robophobia

En fin de juin 2021, j’ai eu le grand plaisir de participer à la conférence SPT 2021 (Society for Philosophy and Technology). Le thème en était : “Technological Imaginaries”. C’est autour de la peur des robots que mon choix de sujet s’est porté. Le robot fascine tout autant qu’il inquiète. Mon intervention était en anglais (conférence internationale oblige). Trois jours sur Zoom, je vous avoue, j’ai trouvé que c’était beaucoup trop. Mais la qualité des intervenants a compensé cela. 

Je vous partage la vidéo de mon intervention :

Le texte dans son intégralité :

Robomania, Robophobia


As André Leroi-Gourhan had written in his famous book Le geste et la parole“Le robot hante l’esprit humain depuis des siècles à travers les automates.”

From Iliad by Homer to The robot series by Isaac Asimov; from Metropolis to iRobot; through fictions, robots have always been a constant keen interest for ages. The future may be in space and certainly full of robots! The forbidden planet, Lost in space, Astroboy and of course Star wars are odes to the technology, filled with our hopes. However some robots seem threatening like the Terminator or the Cybermen in Dr Who. Remember how HAL 9000 easily discards Frank Poole in 2001, a space odyssey. And what about the Matrix which harnesses humans as energetical ressource. All the previous examples were some fictions from literature and cinema. But we can observe the same dichotomy in reality. If Nao, Pepper or Paro looks cute and “kawai” other robots as Atlas, Spot or Sofia look frightening. 

Where does this fear come from? Where does this uncanny feeling that Sigmund Freud defined, come from? Why do we feel uncomfortable,  terrified or threatened when facing robots?

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