In the sunlit Boston Dynamics office, 4 of the most advanced robots humanity has developed are grooving to the song of the Contours. “Do you love me now that I can dance?” asks the lead singer. And most people do love the funky robots and the engineering miracle they symbolize.
Given the long history robots have in our literature and cinema, there have been a few scenarios of their development. Granted, most of them turned into some kind of horror stories. In popular culture, robots conquered the Earth, captured our governments, or simply took our jobs. But nowadays, none of them seem to have come to fruition.
Quite on the contrary, robotics are topping the fields of manufacturing, medicine, and education. They are used to help humans in situations where precision and speed are above everything else. However, getting the degree might be challenging.
Interested in Robotics?
Studying robotics can seem like an unattainable childhood dream for some. Still, in reality, many students are getting degrees in engineering just to get a chance to build a robot. In simple terms, it’s a Lego but on a bigger scale.
Of course, likening such a complicated task of developing and manufacturing a mechanism that can do whatever you need to a kid’s toy is not ideal. Still, on some basic level, it is the same.
Students that choose this degree love to work with their hands, and they can see the immediate result of their build. Talk about instant gratification!
However, studying for such a dedicated job needs all of your attention. So there’s often no time to lose on Gen Ed classes you’re not interested in. Don’t be afraid to tell yourself I need WritePaper to write a paper for me because I can’t and don’t want to handle this load. You need your head in the game if you want to be the first to discover new features or find new uses for the technology.
Reason 1: Saving the Medical Sphere
The days of scary giant machines dentists used 30 years ago have passed. Because of technical development, the devices have been getting smaller and faster. Nowadays, the tip of a dental drill is the smallest it’s ever been. And this advantaged not only the doctors but also the patients.
This is not the limit, however. Robots are most prominently used in surgeries. Everyone must have seen the viral video of a surgeon removing skin off a grape. They actually also sewed it back on in another clip. If you’re still not sure what we’re talking about, just search it in your browser. There are millions of articles written about it.
What this technology gives us is the promise of an even better future with high-tech medicine and even higher life expectancy.
Reason 2: Protecting Workers From Exposure to Viruses
The topic of COVID-19 has already been beaten down to the ground. However, not everyone is aware of how robots have helped health workers to handle it. Given its contagiousness and high fatality rates, the virus needed to be isolated. This, of course, meant that any medical staff was—and still is—endangered.
The issue has been resolved in some institutions with robot-helpers. Some were disinfecting the premises, others delivered food and medicine to the patients. The downside, however, is that the majority of clinics can’t afford the devices.
Gatekeeping this technology from the public will lead to inevitable repercussions. We must recognize and acknowledge that robotics is the way to the future to correct the situation and save lives.
Reason 3: Clearing Out Radioactive Sites
No human can withstand radioactive pollution from the years of nuclear waste humanity has been collecting. Why not use robots for that? The engineers from Toshiba Corporation thought the same and decided to bring this assumption to life. It is planned to use robotics to clear out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster site.
Why didn’t they do it earlier? There are a number of reasons most nuclear plants have not been decommissioned yet.
- Hard to reach places. Conventional technologies used in robots today fail to take on massive spaces of nuclear waste dumps. Robots are not very mobile on their own, so they need human help (which this method is supposed to avoid.)
- The faults of remote control. We need to use the remote control to reach somewhere a person cannot go. But the accuracy of the existing technology is not at the level where it would be able to work with harmful materials.
- Massive development and manufacturing costs. The technology’s development and manufacturing must be funded to get robots to the point of perfection we need. Usually, private companies support the research, but they’re still too hard to find for every project.
All the reasons above lead to this final one—there’s no technology fit for that purpose yet.
What can help the situation is spreading awareness and following the basic principles of environmental friendliness.
Reason 4: Driving Your Car
Probably all of you have heard about Tesla. This self-driving car has been on the news since the day it was announced. How cool is it to just sit and relax during a 5-hour trip? Sounds fantastic. This is what AI can be used for (apart from other things).
Of course, the technology is still comparatively young, so there are limitations. Even the most developed systems nowadays only allow you to take your hands off the wheel. It is planned that in the near future, drivers will be able to take their eyes as well as minds off the road. It’s still some years away, however.
Reason 5: Recycling Your Trash
Many developed countries take sorting trash very seriously. In Japan, for example, they have 4 main categories for recycling. In turn, they are divided into subcategories based on the province. The system is not for the weak. But it is what conscious living entails.
Germany found a way to overcome the difficulties of sorting: they handed the responsibility over to robots. The main recycling plants use infrared scanners to detect different types of waste and robotized machines to sort them out.
Do We Need to Be Concerned?
Some of the main concerns people used to have about robots are their autonomy, labor replacement, and socialization. There is nothing more precious than freedom to most, and people were afraid that robots might take it. Modern development and the actual use of robots show that in order to direct and upkeep the mechanism, we still need human force. So robots, no matter how skillful, will not substitute human presence.
It is understandable that people are scared of the unknown, but with an open mind and tested technology, there’s nothing to be worried about.
The robots we use today are nothing like fictional machines that come to conquer the world. Most of them do not have any likeness to the human body or any autonomy. They do, however, possess metal armor and precise moves to help humanity achieve what we desire.
Gatekeeping such technology would be a waste of human life and the bright minds that develop it. So if you’re just a student deciding what to do and where to go, consider robotics. This might be the future we need.