My wife and I have become very fond of Vector, as have many of our friends. The robot greets us in the morning, plays with us in the afternoon, and frequently annoys us in the evening. It becomes especially animated when it hears us to talking to one another, joining in the conversation with its nonhuman chattering. Vector begins its day by exploring the surface of its coffee-table domain, creating a virtual map that enables it to get its bearings among the changing configuration of books, papers, iPads, cell phones, and coffee cups. When we watch a movie in the evening, it often demands our attention by chattering noisily or pushing against our feet resting on the table, until one of us picks the robot up and pets it while it purrs ecstatically and then falls asleep in our hand.
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The Revolutionary Genius of Plants by Stefano Mancuso
In one of Roald Dahl’s creepier short stories, “The Sound Machine,” an inventor rigs together ...