Elektro, Shakey, Jabberwacky, Deep Blue, Kismet, Stanley, Watson, Siri, Baxter… these are just some of the names given to famous robots across the last 80 years. From their early days as fairground novelties, to assembly line helpers and ultimately, robots that are able to fool people into thinking they’re human, AI-powered robotics has come a long way.
In some ways, it feels like we’re just at the start of our journey towards machines that can think for themselves. In the news we see tech magnates waging war over their impact – will they spell doom for civilisation or will they usher in a glittering new age of progress?
Science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov have long been asking the existential questions on what robots mean to humanity, society and law. It is only now, as costs have come down and computer processing has gone up and we find ourselves in a time where artificial intelligence has led to ‘real’ robots, that we begin to address such questions.
Undoubtedly, there will be a mix of positive and more dubious events and claims as we find our way. I choose to focus on the positive, the great advances in society that we’ll be able to make when freed from manual jobs more suited to robotic work, to be able to concentrate on adding higher-level value.
Positive outcomes will of course need our guiding hand and, from a business sense, this means being sensible about AI implementation, bringing everyone along for the ride and having strategies to guide the journey.
From an individual stance, I remain in awe of each new development and can’t wait to see what comes next.
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