The Talk Circuit

Presenting Robot Redford

Commencement speakers generally feel a bit nervous but pleased to have been asked. But at Maryland's Anne Arundel Community College later this month, the not-entirely-welcome commencement speaker will feel nothing, because he is an it: a 5-ft.-2-in.-tall, 175-lb. mobile machine loaded with a computer and named, by its California manufacturer, Robot Redford.

Surprisingly, the invitation originated with the dean, Anthony Pappas, who wanted to dramatize the high-tech transformation of the working world. Says Pappas: "This will call attention to the college's new unit in computer sciences and technology." Some among the 551-member class are miffed. "I don't like the idea,"...

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