The Age of the Robot Revolution is NOW!
Whether we approve of it or not, Robots now form an integral part of our lives. Scientists call it a Robot Revolution!
Often time we wonder how robots are affecting our lives, how have they changed the industrial culture, human lifestyle, and the pace of technological advancements since their invention. Experts believe we are already on the cusp of a robot revolution that will mirror the explosive growth of the computer revolution from the 1980s onwards. Not only are they augmenting human intelligence and enhancing their capabilities, but also now we are beginning to trust them more. This is how researchers are discovering new roles for robots in our lives. Apart from industrial lines, robotics is finding applications in education, learning, healthcare, and many more. So, it is safe to say that robots have penetrated every aspect of our lives.
Whether it is self-checkouts, automated assembly lines, robots are said to be encroaching human-led jobs for decades. This is quintessentially why people believe that the robot revolution could mean more job loss for them. However, statistics portray a mixed observation, though most of them point out that they can actually lead to more employment possibilities than before. And it can fill in the shoes of human workers, especially when the latter is unable to do. This was observed when the COVID-19 pandemic forced humankind to maintain social distancing, resulting in the acceleration of robotic services beyond the organization columns. For instance, Segway’s Loomo robot delivers internal mail in workplace settings such as office blocks. Starship Technologies robots deliver food in Milton Keynes, England. The Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital in Guangzhou City is also making use of autonomous delivery robots to transport drugs around the hospital. And Denmark based UVD Robots’ are proving to be handy by disinfecting patients without human interference. These bots emit UV light to disinfect the target area and kill viruses.
A National Geographic feature story mentions that robots are arranging products on shelves, planting flower plugs, cutting lettuce and picking apples (Abundant Robotics), and other fruits. Octinion’s Rubion robot is used to pick up 360kg of strawberries each day for Wimbledon matches. They help autistic children socialize, and stroke victims regain the use of their limbs through exoskeletons. They can patrol borders and attack targets they deem hostile, arrange flowers, perform religious ceremonies, do stand-up comedy, mass surveillance, check the temperature of humans in crowded areas, and even serve as sexual partners. At Memphis, Tennessee, FedEx is using robots at its shipping hubs to pick commodities for one place and put them on conveyor belt-a task, which was previously considered difficult to replicate. This because human vision, dexterity, and flexibility are hard to replace and automate. Robots are also known to perform operations, e.g., Da Vinci Surgical System has conducted more than 20,000 surgeries thanks to its superior visualization, enhanced dexterity, and greater precision and ergonomic comfort. This helps surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures involving complex dissection or reconstruction. Meanwhile, robots like Magnetic Microbots can remove plaque from a patient’s arteries.
Robots and robotics have also given birth to numerous new disciplines like Drones, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial vehicles), UUVs (Unmanned underwater vehicles), cobots (collaborative robots), RaaS (Robots as a Service) and many more. San Francisco based Momentum Machines uses robots (Creator) for every step of the burger-making process, i.e., grinding beef, frying patties, toasting buns, dispensing condiments, adding tomatoes, onions and pickles, and assembling burgers, which are then sold for reasonable rates. We also have Marathon Targets, a Sydney based company, which sells highly capable mobile robots that are used by military and police trainees for shooting practice. These robots are armor-plated and can be used to stimulate targets during live training sessions.
To surmise, the robot revolution is now. Whether we like it or not, one cannot ignore how indispensable they have become in our lives and act as much needed lever for future transformations and advancements into the digital age.