Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Release me, let me go

On Tuesday, the university put out this awful press release for a new course in Robotics with Artificial Intelligence and how the film ‘I, Robot’ was now “a reality” thanks to this degree. Well, it looks like I wasn’t the only one who thought it was stupid: (relevant section of article quoted below)

The very finest press release marries the factual with the whimsical while (crucially) not overselling itself – something a release from the University of Bradford this week totally failed to do.

It was with a healthy spoonful of scepticism that the Round-Up double-clicked on an email with a subject header that read ‘Robot Movie ‘A Reality’ with New Degree’.
(It was the presence of the inverted commas perched nervously around ‘A Reality’ that really sold it for the Round-Up – the author of ‘Well, not really, but heck let’s run with it anyway’.)
The movie in question is the Isaac Asimov-inspired, Will Smith vehicle I, Robot.
The premise is that some clever boffins create hordes of intelligent, lovable, huggable robots that inevitably go mental and start killing people with gay abandon despite earlier assurances that this was exactly the sort of thing they wouldn’t do.
The press release began: “As Will Smith battles with intelligent robots in his latest movie blockbuster, the University of Bradford has launched a degree to turn the idea of “robots that think” into a reality.”
“We are on the edge of a new robot revolution…Our new course Robotics with Artificial Intelligence will enable students to build robots that can use all the human senses and take a lead in this new technological revolution.”
“Hmm,” opined one wag in the silicon.com editorial team this week, “So even though Hollywood has conclusively proven they will turn bad and start killing us, the University of Bradford has decided to create an army of intelligent robots that will inevitably take over the world and eat our kids.”

“Maybe they shouldn’t have opened with the I, Robot angle…”

Nice to see that the IT industry agrees with me for a change. While some of our press releases do make me cringe (they often get listed on the university intranet homepage), this one really did take the biscuit.

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