The future of work is not about replacing humans with robots. Rather, it is about learning to work with smart, automated technology that will augment our capabilities while allowing us to focus on skills that are uniquely human.
We’ve been sharing our workplaces with robots for some time now – the first industrial robots were used in the mid-1920se century, usually to perform routine manual assembly work on production lines. What differentiates today’s industrial robots is that they are able to perform work in a truly autonomous manner, without the need for direct control or intervention from us to tell them how. do it. This is because they are controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) – specifically software algorithms that use machine learning to enable them to continually improve in their work.
If, as is the case for many of us, your conception of what a robot is comes from science fiction, then many of today’s industrial robots may not look quite like it. what you expect from them. This is because they are usually designed to perform a particular task, so they often look like any ordinary non-AI machine typically used for that job. The term “robot” is also sometimes used to refer to autonomous systems that are entirely embedded software, as in Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Whichever way you look at it, it’s clear that robots of one form or another will play an increasingly important role in our working lives. So, here’s a look at some of the most interesting and exciting collaborations between humans and autonomous machines:
A famous example of human-robot collaboration is Amazon’s warehouse robots that work alongside staff in its fulfillment centers. These robots have only one job: bring the items to human pickers so they can be packed and labeled for shipment. To do this, they move entire shelves and are programmed to watch out for humans so they don’t collide and cause accidents. While existing robots are limited to working in certain designated areas, a new model currently being tested, dubbed “Bert”, will be able to navigate safely anywhere in the factory. Amazon says that since introducing robots to its warehouses in 2012, it has also created more than a million human jobs.
Robots are often used to work on farms to do dangerous or just boring jobs. Autonomous drones can be used to plant seeds, spread fertilizers and pesticides, and watch out for invasive species or intruders. Humans will oversee their work and step in when manual decisions need to be made. American start-up Burro is creating “people-scale” collaborative robots (or “cobots”) that use computer vision and GPS to track farm workers and help them with their daily work. The agricultural robot market is expected to reach $11.58 billion by 2025.
Moxie is a cobot created by Diligent Robots designed to help nurses and other staff on their rounds in hospitals. He can make deliveries and perform a number of non-clinical tasks proactively, such as restocking supplies and collecting samples. It can do this without needing to be told specifically what to do, by integrating with electronic health records. The idea is that robots like Moxie will leave human workers free to do the parts of their jobs that can be done better by humans, like providing care and compassion for the sick.
Wellness and therapy robots
Robots are increasingly being used to help patients recover from injury or surgery. Collaborative robots created by Italian startup Heaxel train recovering people to perform repetitive movements, track their recovery progress, and transmit the data to human therapists who can use it to fine-tune the recovery program. Other robots have been created, designed to live alongside the elderly or disabled. In addition to offering a form of accompaniment, they assist caregivers by monitoring their well-being and monitoring accidents and falls at home.
A robot called RoMan has been used by the US military to clear roads of obstacles that could provide cover for enemies or other hazards such as improvised explosive devices. It uses 3D sensor data to determine if objects will be an obstacle or a hazard, a pair of mantis-shaped arms originally designed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and powered by deep learning algorithms .
So the robots have now come full circle and found themselves back where they started, in manufacturing. But today’s collaborative manufacturing robots are significantly more advanced than they were when General Motors installed its first robots in its New Jersey factory in 1962. Symbio Robotics creates robots that are used by manufacturers automobiles, including Ford and Toyota, and not just for welding and spray painting. but to install components, select parts, test systems, check for faults or defects, and screw and bolt. These processes make up the part of the manufacturing cycle called “final assembly”, which has traditionally been the most complex and difficult to automate. This is because they require a greater degree of precise control and manual dexterity, which was not available in robotics. systems until recently.
Fast food chains have quickly embraced automation in their drive to increase service speed and reduce operating costs. Miso Robotics has created a kitchen cobot that has been tested by companies such as Caliburger and Walmart, as well as at Dodger Stadium. The robot, known as flippy, assists human chefs by flipping burgers and frying chicken, and unlike human chefs, is capable of working for 100,000 hours non-stop.
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