The 9 Robots That Might Have Enslaved Us In 2014

The robots are taking over, but will we be happy about that?


Some day robots will be building us places to live on Mars and turning us into bionic superhumans. We might not even be able to tell they aren’t human (as is usually obvious now).


But before all that, robots will continue becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives in smaller ways. Drones, especially, saw explosive growth in use this year (read about one model that will help emergency responders navigate inside buildings). That’s also left a growing number of researchers thinking about the societal implications of these new technologies–such as whether we’ll be kind to robots and whether we’ll be willing to obey their commands.

Read more of this year’s most interesting and popular robot stories below. And then stop staring at your screen, damn it, and go have a conversation with someone in the flesh-and-blood.

1: This Concrete-Eating Robot Can Recycle An Entire Building On The Spot

More concrete is manufactured than any other material on the planet. Luckily, the ERO robot has a healthy appetite.

2: Take A Horrifying Journey To Meet Japan’s Most Human-Looking Robots


Venture deep into the uncanny valley with a photographer who only shoots disturbingly anthropomorphic machines.

3: Sending Robots To Print Infrastructure On Mars, So It’s Ready When We Get There

A two-year NASA grant is funding the creation of robots that will build landing pads, hangars, and roads in space before humans get there.

4: A Wearable Robot Suit That Will Add Power To Your Step

Some day this smart garment from Harvard could boost the endurance and strength of everyone from soldiers and firefighters to the elderly and outdoor enthusiasts.


5: This Bio-Drone Grows Itself, And Then Melts Into A Puddle Of Sugar When It’s Done Flying

If the drone crashes into a sensitive place, like a coral reef, it just harmlessly disappears.

6: A Pocket-Sized Drone That Flies On A Leash, So You Always Stay Connected

During emergencies, the PocketFly can help first responders navigate inside buildings or in dangerous situations.

7: Meet HitchBot: The Robot That’s Going To Try Hitchhiking Across Canada This Summer


Many people wonder whether we can trust robots. This project flips the question: Can robots trust humans?

8: Will You Obey Your Robot Boss?

In the future, we will have robot overlords. This uncomfortable experiment (captured in hilarious video) shows just how easily humans will roll over when we work for the machines.

9: Missing The World Cup? There’s Still RoboCup, The World Cup for Robots

Fouls work a little differently in robot soccer.


About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire