Roboconomy – when much of what we do is done by robots – mechanical and electronic
Wired has recently published an excellent article about the effects of robots on society. Here’s our take on the subject of the so-called Roboconomy, with some examples:
- The ATM or Automated Teller Machine.
- Robot arms in car factories. This is what most people think of when they hear “robot”. Actually, these are pretty dumb as far as robots go.
- Google self driving cars – well, any self driving car. It doesn’t have to be made by Google.
- WolframAlpha. This is a sort of robot that answers questions and gathers data. It’s a lot like Siri or Ok Google.
- Self checkouts at the grocery store. Sure, you are doing part of the work, but a machine is replacing a human at least in part.
- Watson – IBM’s supercomputer. This is the AI robot-computer that recently won a Texas Hold’em poker game.
ATMs have been with us for years, as have factory robots, but – and it’s a big but – until now, robots have only been capable of doing specific jobs. In the process, they have saved us billions of hours in manual labour.
Robotics is changing and is having a disruptive effect on our economy.
Let’s think about AI and deep learning being applied to robotics. Robots already have a robot search engine from which they can educate themselves. When they can start to recognise patterns is when the true roboconomy will be born. Currently, the robot that attaches a windscreen to a car can only do this with a specified set of movements to a specified position. Deep learning with pattern recognition would allow the same robot to assume the free movement of any manual worker on that production line – and with considerably fewer mistakes. The world’s largest manufacturer – Foxconn – has already vowed to build a robot to do exactly that.
It’s going to lead to a new economy – the techonomy – where disruptive technology is going to cause massive employment issues – positive and negative. This brilliant video shows how.