Robot Definition

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A robot is a mechanical or virtual, artificial agent. A robot is usually an electromechanical system, which, by its appearance or movements, conveys a sense that it has intent or agency of its own. The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software agents, but the latter are often shortened to bots.


While there is still discussion about which machines qualify as robots, a typical robot will have several, though not necessarily all of the following properties:

  • Is not ‘natural’ / has been artificially created.
  • Can sense its environment.
  • Can manipulate things in its environment.
  • Has some degree of intelligence, or ability to make choices based on the environment, or automatic control / preprogrammed sequence.
  • Is programmable.
  • Can move with one or more axes of rotation or translation.
  • Can make dexterous coordinated movements.
  • Appears to have intent or agency (reification

3 thoughts on “Robot Definition

  1. As technology advances, will this definition and/or its various properties advance as well? I would expect parts of it to become defunct or at least charmingly outdated.

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