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While the robotic title character in WALL-E inhabited an Earth of the future, robots are here now, in our labs, factories, and even art galleries. At Aberystwyth University in Wales, a robot named Adam is designing and carrying out genetic tests on yeast, modifying the experiments on its own as it records and processes data. At the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, robots methodically analyze frozen slices of the brain to create a genetic map of the entire organ. And in art galleries across Europe and North America, artist Wim Delvoye’s “Cloaca” machines mimic natural human waste disposal. Will robots be designing other robots next?

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