“We aren’t dealing with ordinary machines here”

Professor Tony Prescott shakes hands with the iCub robot

Director of Sheffield Robotics and contributor to our free online course Building a Future with Robots Professor Tony Prescott has written this illuminating article for The Conversation entitled Why watching Westworld’s robots should make us question ourselvesIn it, Professor Prescott uses the new HBO series Westworld as his basis for discussing how the design of increasingly complex AI must force humanity to look at the morality of creating machines that can, for all intents and purposes, ‘think’ for themselves.

Flyer for online course Building a Future with Robots (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/robotic-future)It also reminded us of another article that Professor Prescott wrote last year which bridges the gap between Building a Future With Robots and our most recent free course, The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active Into Old Age.

Poster advertising The Musculoskeletal System open online course (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/musculoskeletal)In this article Tony looks at how robotics and developing technologies can aid us as we age; everything from helping with the chores and providing mobility assistance, to designing automatic furniture and combating loneliness.

Along with showcasing the breadth of research taking place at The University of Sheffield, these articles also underline the importance of working in an interdisciplinary way and how academics contribute to a wide range of projects across many subject areas.

Find out more about our open online courses on FutureLearn here

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About Dave Holloway

Dave Holloway
Dave Holloway is a Production Manager in the University of Sheffield's Online Learning Team. In previous professional lives, Dave has been a filmmaker, editor, VJ, and events producer, notably with FutureEverything and Sheffield Doc/Fest.

2 thoughts on ““We aren’t dealing with ordinary machines here”

  1. Hi Dave,

    I couldn’t find any information on this particular course, in fact the link doesn’t seem to work – do you have a direct link to this course? Fascinating, scary but highly debatable subject, I’d love to learn more.



    1. Hi Martin,

      Jumping in for Dave here, here’s the URL for our ‘Building a Future with Robots’ course:


      The course isn’t currently open for sign-ups, however it will be running again in 2017. There’s a link on the course page to register your interest, and you’ll receive an email when the course is open for enrollment again.


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