During the course of the years, technology has upgraded radically; producing machines and devices that were unimaginable only 50 years ago. In that regard, robots are certainly one of the most advanced and interesting of humankind’s technological innovations; but they are also the most misinterpreted and rise currently emotional debates between robots-skeptical and robots-fanatics.
It is worth recalling that, despite the above-mentioned passionate debate; robots have been out there in various automated industries for a long time. Indeed, the first industrial robot was introduced back in 1961 when General Motors installed the first robot to work in a factory in to move pieces of hot metal.
In other words, robots were there for a long time without attracting the attention of ordinary people. Thus, it is the contemporary invasion of various societal fields by robots (and its subsequent dramatization through movies) that triggered and catalyzes the current passionate debate about robots.
Exactly so, according to the Pew Research; it has been found that more than 70 percent of Americans express concern about a world in which machines perform many of the tasks done by humans. Yet, there are people who believe humans and robots can coexist and work together harmoniously. Those robots friendly people are working to discredit various fears people feel about robots.
Robot fanatics on the move
Mouser Electronics Inc. (a leading semiconductor and electronic components distributor based in Fort Worth, TX) and the renowned Japanese engineer Grant Imahara, have teamed up for their Empowering Innovation Together program. The 2017-year’s program has been called Generation Robot, which features five videos filmed across the world, including in the U.S., Germany, and Japan.
Mouser’s goal was to reach innovators all over the world by presenting how robots have a positive impact on humanity; then revolutionize how people see the possibility of interacting with these wonderful autonomous machines. Throughout the Generation Robot series, the entire spectrum of robotics had to be studied, as will the understanding of how robots not only have a technological impact on society; but also at social and moral levels.
Short scenarios of the Generation Robot series
The said video series begins with the Imahara’s visit to the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech and speaking with the executive director, Dr. Magnus Egerstedt. There, he explores several aspects of robots, such as the basics of the machines, myths and misconceptions; as well as the hopes for, and fears of, the advancement of robot technology. In the video, Dr. Egerstedt mentions that robots used to be about mechanical engineering, but now modern robots involve psychology because these machines will be working along with humans and thus they need to understand people.
The second video, which takes place in Augsburg, Germany, dives into the real meaning of robots and humans working together, as well as the way this interaction will benefit society. The third video, which comes out in mid-July, will focus on the all-robot-staffed hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, where Imahara investigates the way robots behave utilizing only artificial intelligence. To watch all the videos and learn more about Mouser and Generation Robot, follow this link.
Robotic production in South Africa
Very recently, a humanoid robot was exposed at Nedbank’s digital-branch, the NZone, which is located at the Gautrain station in Sandton. The small robot, which has been baptized Pepper, has been built by Aldebaran with a funding from SoftBank. Pepper is within the category of demonstration robots, meaning these ones that operate in retail stores and interact with customers by providing a full inventory of stock. They are also able to place orders and capture delivery details while navigating the store.
Many were astonished when this human-made creature introduced ”herself” saying via
a metallic voice: ‘Hi, I’m Pepper’! Read more here.
Early this year, 10 years old Karabo Matlali from Fourways had amazed people when she built and coded a mini robot using Lego pieces. This Grade 5 genius pupil at Maria Montessori House in Fourways, northern Johannesburg, started to learn the art of coding since she was only six years old! You can read her full story by clicking here.
Aside, humanoids, robots have been performing highly specialized tasks within various industries; including human medicine; specifically, the robotic surgery as you can have a small overview in the video below.
The da Vinci robotic technology is installed at three Netcare hospitals.