Robot 100: One Hundred Reasons, a book in Czech about robotics and artificial life edited by University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (UCT Prague) Associate Professor Jitka Čejková now has an English edition from prestigious U.S. publisher MIT Press. R.U.R. and the Vision of Artificial Life also includes a new translation of Karel Čapek’s theatre play R.U.R. (translator: Professor Štěpán Šimek, an authorized translator of Václav Havel’s works). Šimek’s translation faithfully captures Čapek’s original work, bringing it to English-language readers in the most accurate possible form.
“The Czech version contains Čapek’s play as well as contributions from a hundred authors, while the English work focuses on twenty essays devoted to robotics and artificial life. Readers can learn about developments in the fields of robotics, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and today’s social issues,” says Čejková.
R.U.R. and the Vision of Artificial Life has already received positive reviews. Science published a full-page analysis in which it stated, among other things: “The most important contribution of the volume is a new translation of the play by Štěpán Šimek…who manages to capture the surreal weirdness of Čapek’s dark comedy of errors while making the text accessible to contemporary audiences.” The Irish Times wrote: “A must-read for anyone interested in ALife.”
The introduction to the book, written by Čejková, is available HERE.
The book launch for R.U.R. and the Vision of Artificial Life will take place on 25 January 2024 starting at 3 p.m. in UCT Prague’s BI auditorium (Building B, Technická 3). The presentation will conclude with a book signing at 6 p.m.
Register for the book launch HERE.
Authors Seth Bullock, Julyan Cartwright, Gusz Eiben, Carlos Gershenson, Jana Horáková, Sina Khajehabdollahi, Julie Nekola Nováková, and Antoine Pasquali will attend the launch as will Milan Pospíšil, UCT Prague Rector, Zdeněk Vacek, Director of the Monument of Karl Čapek in Strž, and Veronika Trubačová, Curator of the International Children’s Exhibition of Fine Arts in Lidice. Drawings from the 49th edition of the Lidice exhibition, whose 2021 theme was robots and artificial intelligence, are used as illustrations for all twenty essays included in the English edition.
Books will be available for purchase at the book launch, which will take place as a public event that is part of the Dynalife COST meeting. The COST program supports European cooperation in scientific and technical research (The European Co-operation in Scientific and Technical Research), ensuring the coordination of R&D in the form of coordinated European actions such as COST Action CA21169 DYNALIFE (Information, Coding, and Biological Function: the Dynamics of Life). Čejková is involved in this project together with many of the authors in the Czech and English versions of the book, which is a tribute not only to robots but also importantly to Karl Čapek.
The program also includes Zdenek Vack's world-renowned traveling exhibition ROBOT: Born in Czechia (taking place in Techniká Street in front of UCT Prague Building B until the end of January). The exhibition commemorates the global impact of Čapek’s play and current achievements in Czech robotics.
The University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (UCT Prague) is a natural center of study and cutting-edge research. One of the largest educational and research institutions in Central Europe, it specializes in technical chemistry, chemical and biochemical technologies, material and chemical engineering, food chemistry, and environmental studies. Remarkably, of the more than 4,000 students at the school, 700 are enrolled in PhD programs on average. Some of the study programs on offer at UCT are unique in the Czech Republic and are key to the future of the entire country. The school collaborates with more than 100 academic institutions, namely within Europe but also in the USA, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
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