Noodle making robots

April 22, 2013

Robots have long been the stuff of science fiction and many of us have grown up waiting for the day when our dreams might turn into technological reality.

In this morning’s regular look ahead David Dowsett of radio ABC and I took a look at robots and discovered that they are already here.

telemedicien robotTelemedicine robots allows Doctors to virtually jump inside a moving mechanical device and transport themselves around hospitals and clinics engaging and treating patients along the way. Robotic surgeons use their robotic arms to accurately guide and oversee complex operations often in tandem with skilled physical physician hands. Nano robots are routinely swallowed into our body and then guided around to take internal x-rays and photographs. Robotic limbs replace lost, degenerated and non-existent limbs, as well as provide heart pumps and other life-giving robotically controlled devices.

telework robotsIn our offices and factory’s we see the increased use of teleworkers using robotic Segway like devices that allow executives to be in two places at once by jumping on-board a telerobot and riding it virtually around far away offices to attend board meeting in one country without ever having to leave the comforts of their own offices. Many of these devices cost no more than $250 and use PC tablets mounted on robotic shoulders and free software to see and connect you.

drievelss carOn our roads we can expect to see a fleet of driverless cars who know where you need to be and when, have real-time updates of the road conditions ahead and will chauffeur you to your destination in comfort and safety.

Robot-Noodle-SlicerRobots are also entering the hospitality industry as noodle makers, hamburger flippers and sous chefs and in retail as clerks and sales assistants.

Robots as anthropomorphic, high functioning, independently thinking, self replicating humanoid machines are still a long way off. In theory they appear to be easy to create, but in reality are still beyond the ready boundaries of our capabilities and technologies.

There is much work being done in robotics and the most recent catalyst of this is the growth and convergence of big data, mobile technologies, changing culture and a growing appetite for robot like devices together with a practical and pragmatic future need to overcome a growing chronic shortage of workers in some industry’s.

For now, and the immediate future, we will have to contend ourselves with robots and mechanical devices that provide assistance with life and works more mundane and repetitive tasks.

Robots when they do arrive will bring with them many challenges. They will start and stop careers, industry’s and jobs. They will require us to grapple with the ethics and rights of robots and humans and make decisions that we have never had to make before as we learn to co-exist with machines.

The time to start these debates is now, for we are truly on the precipice of when not if as science fiction turns daily to robotic science fact.

Have a listen to the segment now…

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