Machine Morality – Living Alongside Robots
The practical & moral issues of living side-by-side with thinking machines
They’re already in the factories, the mines and on the ocean floor repairing deep water oil rigs. They are machines that tirelessly assemble, pack, repair or transport. Robots never come in late, their standards don’t dip when they’re hungover, tired or emotional and they can work round the clock in hot, cold, dusty or dangerous environments.
Talking about robots taking our jobs isn’t the timeliest of discussions since in many cases, it’s already happened. But even though they build our cars, sort our mail and harvest our crops, the robots we know all work behind bars. These fast-moving, highly articulated and often massive machines exist in segregation, within areas marked by yellow and black chevrons, flashing lights and cages that protect weak, fleshy humans from their crushing, mashing power. When we say we are now entering a new era of robotics, what we mean is that we’re preparing to remove those barriers. In its current iteration, our robotic future will be one where the machines coexist with us in public and private spaces, interacting not just with their owners who can control them but also the general public, their pets and, probably, even other privately owned robots.
The thing is – no one’s entirely sure how that’s going to work out. We’ve started to address the big issues about an automated work force, such as looming job losses. And we’ve dared to . . .
Can Technology Solve the Waste Epidemic?
From food waste to optimising your business. . .
Imagine walking into your kitchen and throwing an entire third of its edible contents into the bin. It sounds absurd, but that’s exactly what happens to a third of the food produced for human consumption worldwide. It goes without saying that food waste is bad for the economy. Vast amounts of energy go into the production of food, including water, land, labour, transportation, storage, and cooking. The later in the production chain that food becomes wasted, the more resources have been expended for nothing. It’s not just the economy that suffers – food in landfill sites creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. In 2013,
Are Disruption & Destruction Driving the Economy?
In 1942, Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter explained that the overhaul of existing ideas and products was an essential fact of capitalism. He called this ‘creative destruction’, and innovators have been discussing it ever since. The concept describes the relationship between innovation and conservatism. If a business wants to progress in a capitalist economy, then destructive, disruptive sacrifices need to be made. Instead of being presented as negative, the term suggests that disruption is necessary for growth. But does disruption drive the economy? Which effect does innovation have on economic growth, and what does this mean for businesses?
Realising A Robot Reality
DISRUPTIONHUB talks with the robotics experts. . .
You don’t have to look too far back to find a time where the idea of living alongside advanced, intelligent robots was little more than a fantasy. But in today’s automated world, businesses and consumers have little choice but to accept that this will be, and perhaps already is, the case. It’s very difficult to name an industry that hasn’t been affected by advanced robots in some way, and now consumers are integrating smart machines into their homes. Combined with artificial intelligence, the clever bots we already encounter today will only get smarter. So, what does a robot reality look like? DISRUPTIONHUB spoke to Starship Technologies, Blue Ocean Robotics and robotics expert Dr. Shuhei Miyashita to find out.
From corporations to consumers
So far, numerous industries have adopted robotics technology and have done for years. But in which industry does the field have the most potential?
Autonomous Drone Networks
Coming to a City Near You
Drones are nothing new but an autonomous drone is very different to the remote controlled devices currently swarming the consumer market. The US military has already made their interest in self piloting drones very clear, as have retail giants Amazon. They have even been applied in construction and natural disaster response. However, although technologists have droned on about independent flying machines for years, a fully operational system is yet to be launched. That is, until now. . .
Automated Food: Planted by Robots, Harvested by Robots
The robo-farm is here
There are no two ways about it, farming is hard work. Long hours, serious physical effort and unpredictable conditions make for a volatile and risky industry. Perhaps this is why agriculture has been so quick to adopt innovative technology, introducing autonomous tractors, aerial drones, crop monitoring systems and advanced robotic machines. Unless you buy locally, farming produce is just the first step in the long process of getting crop to cupboard. Coordinating farmers, suppliers, warehouses, supermarkets and consumer demand is a complicated logistical task that, like agriculture, is ages old but inefficient. Luckily, new technology is revolutionising the supply chain. How? The Internet of Things.
Artificial Intelligence & Job Creation
The ongoing worry of work in an automated world
In today’s workforce, it’s become common to worry about automation. Artificial Intelligence and smart machines seem to be the antithesis of human employment and replacing workers across all industries. It’s really no wonder as to why – automated technology is potentially faster, safer, cheaper and more accurate. By 2030, AI and robotics will likely automate around 861,000 jobs in the UK public sector alone. It’s easy to be worried about the spread of advanced robots and machine learning software, especially if you work in a semi-skilled, repetitive job. Even creative roles are under threat. However, in some ways, AI is actually a blessing in disguise for employment.
Why Should You Care About The IoT?
Increasing your business while getting ahead of the competition
Should you work for a company that produces such items as heating, ventilation and air conditioners, 3D cardiac imaging machines, seed drills or submersible pumps, chances are that you’re already aware of the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). All of us in the tech community are constantly excited about any opportunity to tell the rest of you about our cool technology that can run on your machine, vehicle or product. We see the IoT’s potential to not only improve services but also to connect each product to the internet, to collect data from it and, using advanced machine learning technology, to derive predictions from the ongoing analysis of that data.
But if you’re the CEO of an already successful manufacturing company, maybe the questions you’re asking right now are “Why should I care?
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