|Rodney Brooks And Why Robots Will Be Essential
|Written by Harry Fairhead
|Saturday, 29 June 2013
You can't ignore Rodney Brooks' views on robotics and his latest Ted talk makes it easy for you to find out why he thinks that in the future we will rely on robots.
Rodney Brooks' latest robot project is Baxter, the two-armed, easy-to-use and safe robot. In his latest Ted presentation Brooks explains that we do not need to fear robots, at least in the short term. His examples of how computer technology didn't replace jobs but helped workers get the job done quicker, and even pushed up their wages, are comforting - but they may not be applicable to robotics.
After a quick demonstration of how easy it is to show Baxter how to do things, he moves on to the real core of his thesis. He points out the factory workers don't want their children to work in factories, hence factory workers are an aging population. Soon we will have no factory workers - hence we need robots - and I guess Brooks is hoping that they will all be Baxter Mark II or III. The intermediate phase is that robots will first work with factory personnel to increase or maintain productivity.
Put simply, it's the demographics that are going to make robots essential. The working fraction of the population is set to fall from about 80% to 60% and of course with the baby boomers reaching retirement age there is going to be a need for carers.
If you add this to the aging workforce and aging carers, plus the demand from young people to do more meaningful jobs, there is going to be a big shortage of manual and menial workers.
The bottom line is where are the workers and the carers to come from?
Answer we had better get building them now.
Robots are not going to steal jobs; they are going to save us from the shortage of workers in the near future.
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|Last Updated ( Saturday, 29 June 2013 )