Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are going to change the world within my lifetime. Tasks that people do every day will become things that robots or other devices will take care of for us. Imagine having a robot in your home that would handle your dishes, do the laundry, even prepare dinner for your family. It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. As wild as it may seem the technology for devices or robots like this are beginning to emerge.
I stayed at the West Wing hotel in Tampa, FL that used a robot to deliver pillows, blankets and any items you may request from the front desk. My family was fascinated by this robot and we followed it around and watched it navigate around us and even control the elevator. It is basic, but it does its job well and frees up the front desk staff to focus on customers coming into the hotel. It is a robot that doesn’t replace anyone, but allows the person on site to focus on other tasks. I used to work in hotels and often had to leave the front desk to deliver items. Murphy’s Law always had someone come in who needed to check in or needed assistance while I was away from the desk. So, Wes, the robot at West Wing is a truly great use of new technology, which I am sure is just a sample of things to come.
Care-O-bot 4 is a modular robot that can be programmed to do various tasks. Far more avanced than the robot I saw in person. This robot has two arms and can move around and manipulate items it encounters much more like a person would do. This hardware framework coupled with advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) could mean highly functional robots doing tasks around the world within a few decades. Once this technology gets a consumer friendly point of entry, lives will be changed. I am sure it will begin with the wealthy having robots doing tasks for them, but as the technology becomes more refined and affordable a robot in your home may become a normal thing within 20 years.
We are already beginning to see the impact of autonomous cars and how they alone will change how people travel. Autonomous vehicles could impact even the core desire to own an automobile. If the vehicle drives itself, will people want to own it? Aspects of our society will change as robots begin to do more for us. Ideally this will allow people to do other more desirable or valuable tasks and not deal with tasks that can be automated. This will involve a cultural shift and could mean some jobs or positions may be filled by robots in the future. Time will tell if this possible future is on the horizon, but it looks like the pieces are lining up for actual highly functional robots will be a reality in my lifetime.