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"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts

Talking Robot  
  An impractical robot, for display only.  

The Talking Robot was a tour de force, a thoroughly impractical device, possessing publicity value only. Once an hour, an escorted group stood before it and asked questions of the robot engineer in charge in careful whispers. Those the engineer decided were suitable for the robot's circuits were transmitted to the Talking Robot. It was rather dull. It may be nice to know that the square of fourteen is one hundred ninety-six, that the temperature at the moment is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air-pressure 30.02 inches of mercury, that the atomic weight of sodium is 23, but one doesn't really need a robot for that. One especially does not need an unwieldy, totally immobile mass of wires and coils spreading over twenty-five square yards.
Technovelgy from Robbie (Strange Playfellow), by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Super Science Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @nyrath) of Project Rho for contributing this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Robbie (Strange Playfellow)
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Robbie (Strange Playfellow)
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

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Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
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