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>>I'm Kara Tsuboi, CnetNews.com. The term robot was first used in a 1923 Czech play. Ever since then the world has been fascinated by these humanoid figures. This exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art takes a look at the evolution of this cultural icon.
>>I feel that robots are almost like a symbol that we can use to project our feelings about technology onto.
>>That's why curator JoAnne Northrup calls this exhibit both a nostalgic and futuristic as it examines the way bots can serve as a surprisingly accurate cultural barometer.
>>In a way they serve as avatars where we project into the robot the things that we feel about our society and the world we live in. I think we just like to create things in our own image and it's like we're in a way playing God. We're creating a creature that can work and do things for us and we're in control of it. Or, are we?
>>The collection spans the last 50 years. It starts with this piece, H.C. Westerman's evil new war god SOB.
>>And he thought of the war machine as like a robot that's out of control.
>>Now it is possible to tour this exhibit and appreciate the art on a purely esthetic level.
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>>But the most interesting pieces will challenge your notions of artificial intelligence.
>>It really is sort of eyes on a pole, but it has somehow this human-like presence, like a totem. We see our presence reflected in her eyes.
>>He's created some software that expresses emotions and you can see those emotions mapped out on the projection on the wall behind. There are a variety of interactions that are possible just between Neil and Iona when they're here alone, but when someone enters the room then that changes.
>>For JoAnne's research into robots, which included watching every single robot-themed movie she could find, she's arrived at some fascinating conclusions on different culture's perceptions of these humanoid forms.
>>I would say that there's definitely though a western viewpoint which says that be careful what you do with technology because it might turn against you. I think that the Japanese perspective, in particular, is that robots are here to help us and they're going to make our lives easier.
>>Guests to this museum can tour the art in an innovative way by using their own or borrowed iPod touches as their private multimedia tour guide.
>>This is the home screen and so you'll see several links and these are exhibitions that we have or you can explore our permanent collection.
>>However you choose to enjoy the exhibit, JoAnne hopes this collection will spark a dialog about what robots mean in a modern world.
>>To dig deeper into our relationship with technology and get us to think about it from an intellectual viewpoint.
>>But no matter how deep you dig, there's one bottom line.
>>Everyone loves robots.
>>I know I do. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CnetNews.com.