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From Isaac Asimov to Aimee Mann, 'robophobia' plagues humans

Humans have long been fascinated about the potential of robots. And a little worried.

Use of robotics in manufacturing and other sectors is increasing in countries from the United States and China, and robots have long been embraced for a variety of uses in countries such as Japan.

There also has long been "robophobia," stoked by science fiction writers and moviemakers.

As use of "artificial intelligence" programming expands possibilities for robots, some of the smartest humans are raising warnings. Physicist Stephen Hawking once said that "full artificial intelligence" could lead to the end of the human race.

Robotics professor Howie Choset of Carnegie Mellon University is promoting use of robots to boost the U.S. economy. He calls them just the "next generation of tools."

This is part of the first installment of Future of Work, an Associated Press series that will explore how workplaces across the U.S. and the world are being transformed by technology and global pressures. As more employers move, shrink or revamp their work sites, many employees are struggling to adapt. At the same time, workers with in-demand skills or knowledge are benefiting. Advanced training, education or know-how is becoming a required ticket to the 21st-century workplace.

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