Robots have been hit hard in the news recently with people worried that tech advancements will mean less jobs for humans. Worse still – thanks to the movies – people still see a future generation of robot terminators taking over the world.
Do we really need to let the movie world dictate the future of a species? The poor sharks have struggled to recoup their reputation since Jaws scared the living daylights out of more than one generation – does Terminator really need to taint the future of poor Mr and Ms Robot?
BTW – you have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime (National Geographic: http://natgeotv.com/ca/human-shark-bait/facts)
Robots deserve some recognition
Robots teach us
Just this week we’ve seen Robin, a robot from Tilburg University in the Netherlands teaching toddlers how to learn a second language. Three-year-old children are interacting with Robin and learning to speak Dutch or English because they trust him and he is fun. Here’s a video of Robin interacting with the kids (Tilburg’s YouTube).
Robots keep us safe
Self-driving cars also receive negative publicity but if you put the technology into the hands of one of the most innovative companies in the world you have a recipe for success. Google’s self-driving cars are clever enough to detect a cyclist’s hand signals and react accordingly. It seems it takes a robot to solve the ongoing battle of the roads between vehicle and bicycle. This car has no steering wheel or pedals; it is designed for people to ride in, not drive in. Just imagine the possibilities for people with disabilities. Here’s a video explaining how clever this car is (Google’s self-driving car project YouTube).
Robots entertain us
This week many of us have been caught up watching Wimbledon tennis or the Euro football but did you know that Germany won the RoboCup? This is a football competition for robots. Seriously. Two teams of five well trained (or programmed) robots compete on the field and even take penalty shots. The final between Texas and Germany ended 0-0. Take a look here at the penalty shootout that saw Germany win the competition (RoboCup Facebook) – now that’s entertainment!
Robots are going to make our lives easier. They are stronger and can compute faster than we can but that doesn’t mean they’ll take over the world. We need to stop thinking about how to combat their takeover and more about how robots can empower us to be better and achieve more.