The Rise of Robots

Robots play very important roles in surgical operating rooms and logistics warehouses, but not our daily lives. As G&B Guest Writer Matt Padanyi reports, that could change in the relatively near future.

When Honda unveiled ASIMO in October of 2000 it felt like the world was on the brink of a robot revolution. But beyond automated vacuum cleaners, robots have failed to play a meaningful role in the lives of everyday Joes.

A handful of recent developments are quietly bringing machines to the frontlines of commercial life.

Take for instance, Ray the Robot.  Ray is an automated valet that parks cars for hurried travellers at the Düsseldorf Airport in Germany. Users can book the service ahead of time using a smartphone app. They pull their car up to the loading dock, and Ray picks it up and drops it off in a designated spot.

Ray the Robot on duty at the Düsseldorf Airport. Unlike other valets, it does not wear a cheesy crushed velvet vest.

Ray’s services cost about $40 per day and you don’t have to worry about trying to figure out how much of a tip to leave.

It’s fully insured, so if Ray drops your ride you’re not on the hook.

Another robot making waves is Intel’s Jimmy:

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Billed as a smartphone with legs, Jimmy can be programmed to do various tasks simply by installing specific apps.  You can customize Jimmy’s looks using design software, and it’s body is constructed by a 3D printer. Jimmy will cost about $1,500 when it’s released in September, but Intel’s designers say they expect the price to drop once sales pick up. It doesn’t have functional hands, so it’s limited to simple tasks like reminding you to pay the bills on time.  But, using unique camera technology, Jimmy can recognize users and even interpret their moods based on facial expressions.

Robots are nowhere near the point of being integrated into daily life, but they’re slowly creeping in.  Massive leaps in technology are often not the result of single innovations but the combination of multiple innovations.  Google’s director of engineering understands that. Recently he made the bold prediction that human consciousness will be uploaded onto computers by 2045 and our bodies will be replaced by machines before the turn of the century. Maybe the key to the robot revolution is singularity.

Have you let robots into your home? Do you have an escape plan? How long until C3P0? Fill the comments section with your wise words.

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