Where are we at in the development of robots like the ones some of us remember from our youth? You won’t believe your eyes!
(Think The Jetsons, Star Wars’ Battle Droids, WALL•E and Eve on the immediate horizon!)
Today, we take a peek into a world that we found absolutely fascinating, and frankly, a bit daunting once we began our research for this article.
There are countless emerging fields in robotics: “soft robotics”, “mega robotics”, “nano-robotics”, “agricultural robotics”, “defense robotics”, “swarm robotics”, “surgical robotics” and the list goes on.
After diving into the subject for a couple hours, it is clear that robotics are our future and we will need a very intentional futuristic approach to staying on the “up-side” of the possibilities.
There’s a lot to consider, just as with any major innovation. Will robots take away jobs and displace human connections? Are the conspiracy theories true about Google producing massive armies of robots poised to take over the world?
We’ll consider all of this and more in both this article, and those to come in the future, but we’ll begin our journey by meeting Spot, Atlas and a few of their friends in an astounding TED Talk by Marc Raibert. Enjoy!
We really don’t seem that far away from what used to be pure science fiction! Does our boundless curiosity and ingenuity have us racing into this future like a child running with scissors? Maybe. But in our future articles about robotics, we might quell concerns about some disquieting aspects of the rise of robots.
Take the issue of robots replacing humans in our workforce for example. My research today led me to a fresh perspective on that. Sure, “agricultural robots” may end up eliminating the back-breaking jobs of field laborers, but someone will have to build and maintain those robots. We’ll need to embrace this future with forward-thinking job training. We could shift the work of humans to safer and more humane conditions! The same is true in fields like mining, disaster response, and hazardous manufacturing.
Here’s another video from an EWC favorite – SciShow – with the brilliant Hank Green. He’s got a really good take on the “robot revolution” we are already in, and some fascinating history to help us understand how we got to where we are with dogs like Spot!
This all started 50 years ago!
To put that in a bit of perspective, the well-loved TV cartoon called The Jetsons was created by Hanna-Barbera in 1961, the same year that Unimate – a robotic arm – was installed at a General Motors plant to do repetitive welding. The writers of The Jetsons were amazingly visionary when we consider the TED Talk we opened with today!
So now we all have a solid foundation when it comes to considering our future in the robotic revolution. Perhaps it’s a bit of a comfort that we’ve already been on this ride for decades, and the last 50 years demonstrates that the possibilities and benefits may far outweigh the pitfalls if we’re smart.
To be sure, we’ll need a strategy that is proactive rather than reactive. Much like Atlas is programmed! In fact, let’s take one more look at Atlas, and consider this video clip a metaphor for our future with robotics. Take a look:
Well, that was just a taste of the journey we will take you on in some of our EWC articles in the months to come. Most importantly, you can count on us to curate some of the best information on the internet! (It’ll be a sort of Robot Roulette!)
And then you may have noticed an unusual acronym at the beginning of today’s article title: ISAAW. That’s short for It’s Still An Amazing World, our tagline and a sentiment we are aiming to spread. If you are curious about our mission or our story, have a look and join us in changing the world a little bit for the better.
You can also use the hashtag #isaaw on Instagram to show us why you think it’s still an amazing world!
Stay open, curious and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
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- “Meet Spot, the Robot Dog That Can Run, Hop and Open Doors | Marc Raibert.” YouTube. TED, 14 Aug. 2017. Web. 08 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO4In7d6X-c&pbjreload=10>. ↩
- “A Brief History of Robotics.” YouTube. SciShow, 05 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoC2ZGRI8a8>. ↩
- “What’s New, Atlas?” YouTube. BostonDynamics, 16 Nov. 2017. Web. 08 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=fRj34o4hN4I>. ↩