Walking through the city, I find myself thinking about all the jobs a robot could do. A robot could probably stand in for my coffee truck guy, though I doubt hed smile, call me buddy and ask if I said three sugars or no sugar. A robot could probably take over for that guy spraying down the street every morning though I often wonder why we need anyone doing that at all. Could a robot drive that taxi, which just deposited a woman on Fifth Ave.?
Could a robot drive that taxi, which just deposited a woman on Fifth Ave.? Probably, though I bet it wouldn’t be as good at multi-tasking. I’ve watched taxi drivers snack, take a call and quiz me about my work all while driving above the speed limit. A robot might simply drive at 25 MPH.
These are not idle thoughts. In two separate reports over the last two years, researchers predicted that the rise of the robot worker was imminent. In the UK, Deloitte and the University of Oxford predict that 10 million unskilled jobs could be taken over by robots. Last year, Oxford Research predicted that 45% of the U.S. jobs across a fairly wide spectrum of industries could be automated and taken over by computers by 2033.
Earlier this year I spoke to Automated Insights. Its AI engine helps write thousands of news stories for all kinds of mainstream websites. It’s likely that that kind of sneaky innovation — the kind we scarcely notice until someone tells us about it — will be far more commonplace than CP3-O-like automatons working side-by-side by us in the near term.
Cleaning a house or room is tough enough, but imagine if you had to eradicate every single germ. In the age of Ebola, that’s a baseline requirement. Turns out, there’s already a robot ready to do this. Xenex Disinfection Services’ germ-zapping robot is currently using UV light to blast away bacteria, mold and more in a Northern California hospital.
Standing just 22-inches tall, the NAO robot from French technology company Aldebaran, is actually designed to be an educational robot. It can’t yet replace teachers, but probably qualifies as a teaching assistant.
It’s true, there are robot soccer players, but they tend to be tiny and only play against themselves. There is also a robot ping pong player, but a crafty human beat it and we’re betting it’s somewhere licking its wounds.
A team of Japanese scientists is teaching robots to catch, hit, run and field. Granted, these robot advancements are happening separately and it’ll be a while until the University of Tokyo’s Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory can combine them all into one Android major leaguer, but just think of the possibilities. If a robot learns to hit a baseball, they might have to move back all the fences at major league ball parks. Read more…