Living with Robots

Living with Robots

What Every Anxious Human Needs to Know

By Ruth Aylett and Patricia A. Vargas

Foreword by Noel Sharkey

The truth about robots: two experts look beyond the hype, offering a lively and accessible guide to what robots can (and can't) do.





The truth about robots: two experts look beyond the hype, offering a lively and accessible guide to what robots can (and can't) do.

There's a lot of hype about robots; some of it is scary and some of it utopian. In this accessible book, two robotics experts reveal the truth about what robots can and can't do, how they work, and what we can reasonably expect their future capabilities to be. It will not only make you think differently about the capabilities of robots; it will make you think differently about the capabilities of humans.

Ruth Aylett and Patricia Vargas discuss the history of our fascination with robots—from chatbots and prosthetics to autonomous cars and robot swarms. They show us the ways in which robots outperform humans and the ways they fall woefully short of our superior talents. They explain how robots see, feel, hear, think, and learn; describe how robots can cooperate; and consider robots as pets, butlers, and companions. Finally, they look at robots that raise ethical and social issues: killer robots, sexbots, and robots that might be gunning for your job. Living with Robots equips readers to look at robots concretely—as human-made artifacts rather than placeholders for our anxieties.

Find out: •Why robots can swim and fly but find it difficult to walk  •Which robot features are inspired by animals and insects•Why we develop feelings for robots •Which human abilities are hard for robots to emulate


$27.95 T ISBN: 9780262045810 312 pp. | 5.25 in x 8 in 20


$21.95 T ISBN: 9780262546041 312 pp. | 5.25 in x 8 in 20


Noel Sharkey.


  • ...the authors cover an impressive amount of ground and approach the implications of advanced technology with nuance. Well-researched, this survey makes for an in-depth review of the present state of robotics.

    Publishers Weekly

  • "...this is a great book to read."



  • “At last, after all the hype and drama about robots taking over, comes a book by genuine experts and based on the latest science that shows us how robots will really feature in our lives.”

    Takanori Shibata

    Chief Senior Research Science, AIST

  • “The popular media would have us believe that robots are coming for our lives. This book reveals why making robots do anything is actually pretty hard. It explains how robots work, their limitations, and the role humans play in their creation. Written in a very relatable style, this book appeals to those of us who always wanted to know what makes robots tick.”

    Elizabeth Broadbent

    Professor of Health Psychology, University of Auckland

  • “The popular press too often get fooled by hype. This book gives us a realistic view of where robots are today and where we can expect them to head, explaining to nonspecialists how things work, what is hard, what is easy, what is unexpected, and what is real.”

    Rodney Brooks

    Panasonic Professor of Robotics Emeritus, MIT

  • “I can think of no other book that does such a detailed and thoughtful job in carefully explaining the many issues surrounding physically embodied autonomous AI systems. Heartily recommended for anyone with an interest in AI, from big tech CEOs to students alike.”

    Michael Wooldridge

    Professor of Computer Science, University of Oxford

  • Finally, a very readable and thorough non-specialist tour through the multidisciplinary science of advanced robotics. It really unpacks the state of the art to show the field's  strengths and the technical reasons why robots won't be taking over from humans anytime soon. A must-read for the curious and for everybody who cares or comments about the future of robots in our society.”

    David M Lane

    Professor Emeritus, Heriot Watt University