The Rise of Robots

One of the subjects I write about in my day job is technology, robotics, and STEM. This week is a portion of a recent blog that has received several interesting comments both positive and not so positive. It provides food for thought as technology (and robots) both become more and more embraced in our daily lives.

The use of robots in many industries has more than tripled in the last five years, raising both concerns and opportunities. Will robots threaten our jobs? Our very civilization? Or will they lead to improved quality of life?

Programming skills are the backbone for the robotics industry, and robots will give rise to many new jobs – provided that humans have the skills to do them. In the U.S., President Obama has supported investment in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines in order to encourage students to pursue high-tech degrees and training. Meanwhile, researchers throughout the U.K. are concerned about finding people with the right type of skills to take robots and AI (artificial intelligence) to the next level. Countries like the U.K. feel that China and the U.S. are moving forward while it is losing ground. It was just announced that the UK will have its first UK Robotics Week from June 25 to July 1, 2016. The event is aimed at celebrating the best of UK robotics and inspiring future innovators. It includes several challenges such as school Robot challenge, Surgical Robot challenge, Autonomous Driving, and UAV challenge.

Seeking to offer reassurance about the oncoming robot renaissance, John Macintyre, professor of Adaptive Technology and faculty dean at the University of Sunderland in England stated, “Not only is it extremely unlikely that machine intelligence will overtake that of humans, but the whole field is giving rise to exciting new skills and job opportunities as developments spill out of the labs and into the real world.” He contends that popular culture has portrayed robots and AI “as a threat” instead of showcasing the good robots can bring to the human experience.

 

Quote for the Day: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” — Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect”

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