The Bots are coming


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Recently a new type of robot was introduced to the world. His name is Baxter and he hopes to be one of the first mass produced robots able to think for himself. The idea is that Baxter can be stuck in a assembly line with humans, and be able to adjust to each "widget" sent to him.

Baxter.jpg

"Baxter has also been programmed to apply common sense to its environment. For example, if it drops an object, it "knows" it has to get another one before trying to finish the task." (1)

Obviously Baxter still has a ways to go before he can completely replace humans in manufacturing jobs. However, lets consider jobs that may or have already been replaced by robots.

-Surgery - Currently robots assist in many forms of surgery, ranging from heart to brain surgery. 86% of American men had robot assisted prostate surgery in 2009 (2). Understandably, robots can be very stable and precise which is very important during surgery.

-Teaching - Imagine a teacher who could answer any question within seconds. A powerful enough robot could search the internet within seconds and find a suitable answer to almost any question. The problem with a robot would be the "human" element to teaching and the ability to show emotional interest in a subject. Nonetheless, it isn't so absurd to imagine a robot teaching a subject like math or a foreign language.

-Military - Weaponized drones are already a huge part of the military's anti-terrorism force. These drones are able to remain in the sky for hours, move almost silently, and pack some serious firepower. It's no surprise that they have been one of the most popular means for attacking militants in the Middle East over the past decade.

While Baxter is considered advanced at this time, in a decade or so he will be a thing of the past.

Sources:
1. BBC News, 9/18/2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19637175
2. NY Times, 2/3/2010,http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/health/14robot.html?_r=0
3. Discovery, http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-ways-robots-could-replace-humans.htm


1 Comment

Robots and artificial intelligence are definitely going to change the world dramatically and probably sooner than what people think. About a year ago IBM showed the world there progress on a very large R&D project they called "Watson." Watson according to the IBM website has can "recognize that there are different probabilities of various outcomes" which allows it to "learn." Can you imagine a high powered machine like the Baxter being combined with Watson's high powered artificial intelligence? Products like these are just beginning to enter the world, but I can not wait until they start being pushed into the market place. They will almost assuredly change the world. What do you think?

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