Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

robots 2019 jobs

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Stelian Coros, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, ETH Zurich


In the future, robots will be ubiquitous but they will not take everyone’s jobs. Advances in the field should pave the way to a future in which robots and humans can work together with ease.

There are four key trends in robotics at present.

1. Adaptability

The recent surge in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies is a boon for robotics. Indeed, with applications ranging from personal assistance to therapy, and from social companionship to search-and-rescue, the socioeconomic promise of this field is now unquestionable. Whether to augment human capabilities in the workplace, to help with chores around our homes, or to increase the effectiveness of disaster-response operations, future generations of robots will need human-level mobility and manipulation skills to perform an increasingly diverse array of tasks.

2. Personalisation

Thanks to new technology and continued innovation, the process of creating robots will become significantly more accessible than it is today. Intuitive interfaces and software will enable the design of entirely customized robots, perfectly adapted to different tasks and to the needs and preferences of users.

By lowering the barriers to entry in the field of robotics, a much broader segment of the population will have an opportunity to engage in activities that are currently restricted to domain experts.

This has the potential to influence the field as profoundly as open source software has shaped the IT landscape. The idea here is for human designers to create bespoke robots with minimal effort in a user-friendly software platform. In short, engineering meets AI, helping people to upskill in order to adapt to the fast-changing world of work that is quickly becoming a defining challenge of our generation.

3D printed soft robot hand designed by Martina Skvaro from ZHdK.
Image: Stelian Coros, Computational Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich

3. On-demand delivery

This trend takes the ability to customize robots even further. The production and assembly of 3D-printed parts not only enables on the spot custom-designed robots, but also self-assembly on-site. It is like LEGO for scientists. Researchers wanting to deploy a robot for a task in the field would be able to design it according to their criteria and actually generate its components themselves, before assembling and using it immediately.

Customers interested in companion robots could, in a similar way, select their preferences, complete their order on one day, and enjoy their purchase the next day – all without breaking the bank.

4. Choreography

AI is also teaching robots how to move, thus automating the learning process by which they grasp the rules of the environment in which they evolve and how to avoid or react to obstacles.

Robots have traditionally moved in a slow, cumbersome fashion. Novel trajectory optimization allows users to generate walking, rolling, gliding, and even skating motions – again, as required or preferred. These motions emerge based on the components used to design each individual robot.

This feature, in turn, allows robot motions and behaviours with stable, physically-viable motions that are realistic and compelling. Using this new design methodology, a diverse array of hybrid legged or wheeled mobile robots can not only be imagined, but also realised.

Robot on wheels created by the Computational Robotics Lab.
Image: Stelian Coros, Computational Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich

What is next in robotics?

Emerging digital fabrication technologies and novel materials are paving the way to increasingly lifelike robots. The crucial trend will be dealing with complexity.

The disruptive power of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies comes from their ability to fabricate designs of unmatched geometric complexity using a continually expanding range of materials. More remarkable still, AM allows the mechanical properties of printed structures to be engineered based on high-level specifications, by digitally controlling the geometric arrangement and composition of individual base materials.

By mastering the unprecedented fabrication capabilities enabled by AM, over the next decade we will be able to create synthetic structures that approach the mechanical sophistication of their biological counterparts.

This will lead to new breeds of robots that will resemble biomechanical systems in both form and function. These robots will abandon traditional designs that rely exclusively on stiff materials and actuators in favour of compliant alternatives that will redefine their performance, efficiency, robustness and safety characteristics.

While robots often belong to the realm of science fiction, technology is facilitating their integration into society. The trends discussed above show that we are closer than we think to robots becoming ubiquitous.

At the same time, these advances will all help to create more meaningful human-robot interactions, avoiding the dreaded scenario whereby robots take over everyone’s jobs. On the contrary, they have the potential to provide much needed assistance that is both complementary and beneficial.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “You just don’t know if the oil price will be 20$ or 100$ in the next 2-3 years!” top Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff underscores from Davos

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Privacy is a human right, we need a GDPR for the world: Microsoft CEO

UN mobilizes in Rohingya camps to support babies born of rape; young mothers face stigma

European Citizens’ Initiative: A game of much publicity and one big lie

Why are wildfires getting worse?

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

Central Asia bloc has important role in ‘peace, stability and prosperity’ beyond region, says Deputy UN chief

UN postal agency ‘regrets’ US withdrawal

United States: UN human rights office welcomes California moratorium on death penalty

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

Vaccines: from miracle to possible danger

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Pharmaceuticals: Commission refines intellectual property rules

Women must have an equal share in politics, say MEPs and national MPs

European markets itchy with short-term disturbances

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

Three ways Finland leads the world – and education isn’t one of them

The European giant tourism sector in constant growth

Global economy to see ‘steady’ growth of three per cent in 2019 despite risks, says UN

Eurogroup asked to reduce public debts of its member states

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

EU regional differences betray an unjust arrangement

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

UN chief condemns attack targeting international forces in northern Mali

Creating shared value: an opportunity and challenge for entrepreneurship

‘Proving our worth through action’: 5 things Guterres wants the UN to focus on in 2019

Congrats to the #FutureofMalta: a new age of voting

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

Are you breathing plastic air at home? Here’s how microplastics are polluting our lungs

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

11 lessons the history of business can teach us about its future

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

ECB: Reaching the limits of its mandate to revive the Eurozone economy

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Commission launches debate on a gradual transition to more efficient and democratic decision-making in EU tax policy

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

This new way of understanding disease is changing medicine

Why today’s leaders need to know about the power of narratives

Vaccinations and the movement of anti-vaccers

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

London wants to treat violent crime like a disease

Want more climate action? Let’s show how good a planet-friendly life can be

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

Top envoy to Yemen praises ‘flexibility’ of chief negotiators as new UN mission chief is named

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

EU Commission announces Safe Harbour 2.0 and a wider Data protection reform

US-North Korea summit in Singapore ‘a promising development’ says Guterres

My unlimited China

Safer products: stepping up checks and inspections to protect consumers

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s