Big Questions About Robots


Yup, robots are fascinating, especially to little thinkers. They’re cool and shiny, and they’re able to do things that humans can’t (or shouldn’t do). Some look sort of human, some are enormous and powerful, and some are almost microscopic. What’s not to love, right?

Well, in addition to their extreme awesomeness, robots also present a unique opportunity to share some pretty big and important questions with children. Watch the movies, play with the toys, snuggle up in the pajamas, and then see if your wee robot fan has big ideas about them.

Here are some places to start:

  • What is a robot, anyway? How is it different from and similar to a human being?
  • Can robots think for themselves? Do they have feelings? How do you know?
  • Why do we so often think of robots as looking like people? Is it necessary for them to look like us?
  • If you could give a robot any of our human jobs to do, which ones would you pick? Why do you think a robot should do them, instead of a human?
  • Is there anything that we don’t want robots to do for us? Are there jobs or activities that should be just for human beings?
  • Can robots make art? Why or why not?
  • What if your best friend was a robot, and you didn’t know? Would it bother you, if you found out?
  • Are robots and animals more or less similar to one another than robots and humans?
  • Should there be rules for programmers and engineers to follow when they build and program robots? What would these rules be?

Thinking about robots is almost as cool as playing with them. By engaging your budding technologist in conversation about our mechanical friends, you encourage them to think critically about how they use technology in general, as well as about what makes them special as a human being.

Happy robot-ing, little thinkers!

For a fun, hands-on look at the definition, history, and roles of robots, check out our interactive ebook version of “According to Phil: A Young Thinker’s Guide to Robots“.