Robots with higher levels of agility and dexterity are taking over human jobs that until recently, only skilled workers had the ability to do.
For years, robots have slowly but surely been overriding human jobs, but this is usually in fields such as manufacturing, where bots perform heavy-duty tasks that require high levels of programming.
However, because of companies like OnRobot, a business that creates robotics with precise and delicate features, AI machinery is quickly becoming much more free-thinking and autonomous.
New advances in robotics
The newest development is through the precise gripping ability that a robot now has.
Grippers on bot’s arms have been developed to mimic the sticky pads of a gecko by using fibrillary stalks and suction cups. Meaning that the way they see objects and learn to grab them is so much more exact than previously, allowing them to carry out agile and delicate tasks.
The new tech works by using cameras to see an object. AI then determines how to grab it and learns to perform better from this.
Previously, robots were also kept in cages for the protection of humans. Something which is hoped will no longer be needed as robots become gentler.
Robots in our everyday lives
According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute in 2017, it was predicted that robots will take over 800 million human jobs by 2030. Last week, they suggested that of those who work in areas like the food or retail industry, 40% will lose their jobs to robots in the next 10 years.
This statistic is increased by industries being unable to fill certain positions and so use robots to do so. For example, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics suggested that unemployment in warehouses had jumped to a record high since 2001.
This means that AI will play a much bigger part in the everyday lives of regular people in the near future.
Johnny Albertsen, Rosborg Food Holding’s chief executive officer, said: “The technology is going so fast now, that in two or three years…you can make the robot do almost anything.”
Human jobs won’t all be lost
Despite the worry, bringing more robots into the human world does not mean that opportunities for humans won’t exist.
Zahraa Khalil, robotics engineer and author for Lynda.com, believes that even as robots develop, humans will always be needed to programme this type of tech. Speaking especially to Software Testing News, she says: “I am on the optimistic side. Robots are taking more human jobs that until recently skilled workers used to do. But, this phenomenon is creating many jobs, different types of jobs related to programming. There will always a need to program the Robots, so jobs are fading on one hand, but many are created on the other hand. In my opinion, investing in training and educating the programming languages that run the Robots is the essential step. ”
Robotic engineer and AI automation specialist, Hamid Oudi, also has a positive outlook on the development of robots. Again, speaking exclusively to Software Testing News, he says: “Robots have continuously enhanced the human capabilities in job roles where human productivity and efficiency are important and, where in the long term, those tasks or roles could have a severe impact on health, safety, and satisfaction of those human workers. So, in fact, in many cases as part of those automation and robots included in the companies, more jobs are created to support the operations.”
Robots’ performance means quicker developments
Albertsen is hoping to expand his team to have more robots. It is thought that the price of an investment of this kind is estimated at around $70,000. But Albertsen believes that this will pay off in around 18 months.
Capacity LLC, a fulfilment centre, has been testing this type of tech for the future of their business. Capacity’s chief strategy officer, Thom Campbell, says: “It’s performing well… It’s slower than a human, but it does not take pee breaks. It does not go to lunch. It does not only work one shift, and it doesn’t charge for overtime.”
Soft Robotics Inc. makes pliable grippers that easily gab smaller, more delicate items. CEO of the company, Carl Vause, says that using this kind of robotics takes away the need for complicated coding. He comments, “it fundamentally changes everything in robotics”.
Vause continued to talk of the ultimate simplicity of this type of tech. He said: “We’re not doing very precise, involved path calculations. We’re seeing and grabbing. End of story… There’s unbelievable high demand for automation… These are applications that two years ago, no one would have even considered.”
It’s thought that bringing robots to the human level in terms of having nerve endings and the agility of bones, could take around 100 years.