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Ken Goldberg

Ken Goldberg is Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and founder of the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium at the University of California, Berkeley. His Net art installations include "Dislocation of Intimacy," "Memento Mori," and "The Telegarden."

Titles by This Editor

An Introduction to Online Robots

Remote-controlled robots were first developed in the 1940s to handle radioactive materials. Trained experts now use them to explore deep in sea and space, to defuse bombs, and to clean up hazardous spills. Today robots can be controlled by anyone on the Internet. Such robots include cameras that not only allow us to look, but also go beyond Webcams: they enable us to control the telerobots' movements and actions.

This book summarizes the state of the art in Internet telerobots. It includes robots that navigate undersea, drive on Mars, visit museums, float in blimps, handle protein crystals, paint pictures, and hold human hands. The book describes eighteen systems, showing how they were designed, how they function online, and the engineering challenges they meet.

Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet
Edited by Ken Goldberg

The Robot in the Garden initiates a critical theory of telerobotics and introduces telepistemology, the study of knowledge acquired at a distance. Many of our most influential technologies, the telescope, telephone, and television, were developed to provide knowledge at a distance. Telerobots, remotely controlled robots, facilitate action at a distance. Specialists use telerobots to explore actively environments such as Mars, the Titanic, and Chernobyl. Military personnel increasingly employ reconnaissance drones and telerobotic missiles. At home, we have remote controls for the garage door, car alarm, and television (the latter a remote for the remote).

The Internet dramatically extends our scope and reach. Thousands of cameras and robots are now accessible online. Although the role of technical mediation has been of interest to philosophers since the seventeenth century, the Internet forces a reconsideration. As the public gains access to telerobotic instruments previously restricted to scientists and soldiers, questions of mediation, knowledge, and trust take on new significance for everyday life.

Telerobotics is a mode of representation. But representations can misrepresent. If Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" was the defining moment for radio, what will be the defining moment for the Internet? As artists have always been concerned with how representations provide us with knowledge, the book also looks at telerobotics' potential as an artistic medium.

The seventeen essays, by leading figures in philosophy, art, history, and engineering, are organized into three sections: Philosophy; Art, History, and Critical Theory; and Engineering, Interface, and System Design.