Sunday, 7 July 2013

Robots Will Become House Hold Appliances




On YouTube there are examples of advanced prototype humanoid robots that can walk about and have perfect balance. One was an Asimo Honda model that had perfect coordination and balance. Its movement was very fluid and it could side step as well. Then another model appeared at a conference show. It was made by Kawanda and was taller and leaner looking than the Asimo model. I could not believe how advanced these Robots were and how well they moved. The Kawanda model began posing upon the stage as though it was at a Mr Universe contest, showing various arm movements then stretching out its arms, standing on one leg with perfect balance. It was incredible.

Robotic engineering is increasing at mind boggling rates. How long before we have such things as domestic appliances? How quickly will the new upgrades start coming out as we quickly replace them the way we do mobile phones or computer tablets?

I can imagine them with their own mobile phone systems. You'll ring home and it will answer. You'll tell it what you want for dinner and it would have done all the chores. We will become lazy. They might have agricultural ones ploughingfields and picking crops. Where will it stop and what will we do? Devote ourselves to scientific or artistic past times? Yes everything sounds Hunky Dory or will it be?

Even out in Space they could be used. We were talking about mining asteroids and using them as vehicles in space or extracting minerals from them. Rather than use astronauts in such a hazardous enterprise, how about robots? We could reduce the risk and it all seems very probable that this type of solution will be used.

Again, robotics makes the possibility of many tasks we perform even more remote. The benefits of such machines could be tremendous. The amount of unemployed looks even worse however. A vast amount of the population will need to be motivated or we could all drift into a state of apathy.

When I watched part of the Robotic display I found it exciting and also potentially scary. I was not afraid of the actual machines, but more by what their integration will do to mass population employment. All the science fiction notions of machines doing the work become frighteningly more plausible. Multi millions of these machines will become common domestic appliances like a hover or washing machine. Every household will have one. I sincerely believe this will happen and possibly in my lifetime. I think if we do not adjust ourselves to the potential pit falls, we could ruin our society for some considerable time.

I have an image of me driving along the motor way with these humanoid things litter picking. They might be used by councils for waste disposal in town centres or be traffic wardens. The potential is limitless and the mass of people becoming unemployed is even more ominous. Sometimes technology advances at a pace we can’t keep up with. I was truly shocked by how advanced these humanoid robots could move.

Out on the fringe of society these robots would be great; like mining or space exploration in hazardous areas. This I see as positive, but that trend of domestic reliability is the one that makes me wobble. The manufacturers need to get them into domestic reliability to create a popular demand and enable them to lower costs of mass purchasing these robots. However, if lots of people are unemployed how will the economics for upgraded models come about?

We are going to have to radically change our society to motivate large sections of our population because we might struggle to adapt quick enough.
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