As Professor Vesna mentioned in her first lecture of robotics, the technology of movable type, introduced by Gutenberg to the western society in the sixteenth century, transformed the speed and breadth of knowledge precipitation, and advanced the growth of many other fields such as religion through religious manuscripts, science through textbooks, and art through the mass-publication of literature.
|The Gutenberg Bible - a product of the movable type|
The enigma, otherwise known as the turing machine, is a perfect example of how industrialization enabled the mass-processing power and early "intelligence" of the embryonic computer. However, although this machine had allowed for the success of defeating a nation, people were nevertheless doubtful of its capabilities - or even the feasibility of its creation - prior to its birth. The English officials initially opposed the idea of relying on mechanical power, and wanted to abolish the mission. However, the enigma's eventual success convinced society that computational power is not only revolutionary, but crucial to the development of future technology. This has been proven right, as the algorithms and designs that were embedded in the earliest enigma soon became the foundation for greater computational power and information trading. Now, not only is knowledge produced mechanically on the medium of paper, it is distributed electronically through the digital screens and internet, allowing information to be created and distributed like never before.
The next step to robotics and mechanization is of course, artificial intelligence. While preexisting robots can handle physical labor, society, especially the technology industry, is aiming for artifically-intelligent robots that can interpret and follow commands. On a more ambitious note, society is interested in robots that can learn from the wealth of human information and knowledge that has accumulated since the birth of civilization to the boom of industrialization. Through utilizing existing information, we are able to process information in a near-human way and move a step closer to the high-functioning robots of the future.