Article on the Economist web site observing the love for robots in Japan. Has a few religious points of contact too. See Japan’s humanoid robots | Better than people | Economist.com.
Related to this is the Robotic Life group at MIT. Head over and have a look at their site. On their publications page they have some papers you can download that would fit with the article above, especially the ones about robots as collaborative partners.
Another interesting article is Wired News: Monsters of Photorealism which comments on the ideas of Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. Mori asserts that the more real you try to make a simulacrum of the human being – a robot or in VR/video games/films – the less convincing they become, to the point of becoming disconcerting or even repulsive. (See also Uncanny Valley – Wikipedia.)
Anyway, that’s enough random thesis connections falling out of my head for today.