How do robots change the world?
From movies to the actual industry, the idea of robots changed our perspective on life. Sci-Fi movies gave different points of view on them, on one hand making them the best thing ever invented, on the other hand showing them as the thing that will end the world as we know it and even humanity. In reality, there are many benefits, but also a few disadvantages on robots evolving.
To start off, the concept of robots was actually fist noted in ancient times by several mythologies and when people actually started to automate labour, they were known as machines or mechanical men that used to do unpleasant work. The actual term appeared in 1920 in a satire play by the Czech writer Karel Čapek and it comes from “robota” which means servitude in his language. Leonardo da Vinci himself wanted to build a prototype of a humanoid robot.
Nowadays, robots don’t really rely on the way they look, but on the efficiency and they are mostly used in manufacturing and house work like chores and other domestic activities. Using them has been reducing costs and increasing productivity when it comes to serial production. They are also used in medical procedures and helped with the precision and accuracy of surgeries and other operations. Robots got their way in military activities as well and the most famous device used in this field is the drone. It helped a lot in gathering information from above and they are also used in photography at important events of people’s lives.
A brief history
Automating has been used in all kinds of fields even in the ancient times. One example would be the automate, which was a devise with human like features and it was programmed to sing and dance. The mastermind behind it was Yan Shi and built it during the Zhou dynasty in the 10th century BC.
Other engineering masterpieces in this filed are the clock towers that worked by themselves and had little dolls or mannequins or the musical boxes or hurdy-gurdies used to entertain the higher-class society.
As mentioned above, Leonardo da Vinci had an idea of a humanoid automated machine in the form of a mechanical night. He never got to build it, but there were drawings of it found in his notebooks. It was supposed to stand and move his upper body (the arms, head and jaw).
In the past, mechanical machines were mostly used for entertainment with no productive function, but nowadays, robots are used only to help with development and productivity in various industries and fields.
The utility of robots
Robots have been created to come in the help of humans and ease their work and labour, that is a fact. But there has been a fear that they will cone to replace hand labour, hence jobs will disappear and unemployability will increase, which actually happened. Many physical labour related activities disappeared in the advantage of robotised work. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since they increased productivity and cut out major costs for small and big companies. Besides, they also created other jobs for the ones that invented and built them, that have to operate or repair them.
Machines work on robot software and are programmed to have autonomy somewhat. Their solutions are based on specific algorithms depending on what they have to do. Robots can be controlled by people or apps from a distance and this also saves precious time. Artificial intelligence defines their ability to solve problems and because of it some people are afraid they will rise against their creators, the humans. This is not quite the case, at least not yet, because they don’t work unless they are programmed, but some have some special kinds of algorithms that give them a greater autonomy than others, which makes them figure out simple solutions by themselves, based on their “experience”. They became really good co-workers because they save important finances that would have been spent on more actual employees. Besides they help with heavy duty or precision in various domains.
Together with the popularisation of the robots and their development, the medicine filed also advanced considerably. Robocop and Ironman were the product of very rich imagination and pure fiction, but in reality, they have been a real help in the medical world, from surgery and check-ups to devices that are meant to help people gain their mobility back or even for medical training (like a life-sized realistic Operation game that can actually help students learn CPR, how to make injections, how to deliver a baby and so on). There are also companion robots meant to help the elderly with social stimulation and somehow replace a caregiver or a utilitarian dog (it requires lower maintenance since you don’t have to feed it, walk it, give it a bath) and it can even help with chores or call the ambulance if something happens to you.
A peek in the future
It’s easy to get scared of the future of robotics if you think about of al the films that have been made throughout the past years and that showed apocalyptic disasters produced by the robots. The truth is that is very unlikely, on the most part because they are not even close to having even the intelligence of a young human child. They are things, objects, that work on algorithms and are not programmed to be good or bad, but to help us in our lives.
We may see robots in public security, helping with solving crimes and catching delinquents sooner than we think. We already have the surveillance cameras that record everything and have long storage autonomy and they have been known to elucidate many mysteries when it comes to law and order. Moreover, education might have a brighter future with robotized learning personalized for every child in a classroom. They will be able to help a teacher with their work and a student to learn easier. The biggest field in which robots are the key to success is manufacturing, but also at home, helping with chores, and they will keep advancing more and more. Some jobs will disappear, but some other will be created and that is just the course of life.