With arguably the largest aging population relative to its total, Japan leads the world in the production of healthcare robots as a way to cope with the growing need for eldercare and shrinking numbers of working people left to give that care. It’s not surprising that many of the robots featured in this collection originate from Japan.
Below are dozens of robot images, followed by images representing 8 videos that you can watch by clicking on each image. The list of related articles will expand over time as we discover new and interesting articles on robots. Comment below if you find one you’d like to share. (Republished after CES 2018 with new images and reference articles.)
My Technologist View
As shown in this video above, the automation of information processing (brains, thinking & learning) is occurring much faster than previous automation of manual labor (muscles), and it’s happening at an exponentially accelerating rate. (Moore’s Law and the FUTURE of Healthcare.)
What will happen as more and more jobs are automated and humans, who are living longer, become obsolete? What societal issues will arise? Should those issues be left to politicians to resolve, and a political process corrupted by special interests? Will the pace of their policy-making be able to keep up with the pace of tech innovation? (It’s already slowing with our divided Congress, as technology speeds up.)
So while our Constitution starts with “We the people,” I must today ask, “Who are ‘WE’?” We can begin answering that question with our vote – for either a united nation of diverse nationalities and beliefs, or a divided nation of warring tribes ruled by rich white men in suits.
Related Articles & Videos
- Healthcare Robots: Elder Care in the Hands of Machines (old version of this article)
- CNET vs. the Robots of CES 2018
- Rise of the robots at US electronics show (CES 2018)
- This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’ (CES 2018)
- Six Life-Like Robots That Prove The Future of Human Evolution is Synthetic (The Futurist)
- Retiring with robots? How your folks will get high-tech help (CNET, 4/5/2017)
- Robots of CES 2017 (includes healthcare robots)
- Robot designers take cues from humans
- Robot arms dress the elderly or disabled
- Why I play with robots: the promise of telemedicine
- The robot that makes house calls or comes home after surgery
- Robots to Help Children With Autism
- Siri: The Talking Robot Arrives. Uh Oh
- VIDEO: Social Robots, by NOVA scienceNOW
- VIDEO: Robotic Cars, by NOVA scienceNOW
- Where are the robots we were promised?, by Kim Komando
- Sophisticated Robotic Hand Doubles as a Human Exoskeleton
- Teaching Life Lessons to Your Lifelike Robot
RoboCop@Home is a domestic application competition.
- Meet Pepper, the emotional robot (CNN)
- Are you ready for your first home robot? Meet Pepper (Engadget)
- SOCCER: Heads up, World Cup teams: The robots are coming (implications for all industries, incl. healthcare)
- The Future of Robot Caregivers (New York Times)
- The Most Awesome Robots (until 2014) – YouTube collection
- Japan to promote robots for nursing home care
- 10 potential benefits of robot caregivers (I commented)
- Top 26 robotic innovations in healthcare (each with a brief description and photo or video)
- Robot Brains Catch Humans in 25 Years, Then Speed Right On By (Bloomberg. I commented)
- The Rise of the Robotic Servant (engadget)
- In Japan, A Funeral For Robot Dogs (Popular Science)
- What advances in Robotics and A.I. bode for us (CBS)
- Cheery Robot Helps Patients Cope With Pain During Hospital Procedures (Huffington Post)
- The Robots Are Coming (Huffington Post)
- Softbank’s childlike robot with ‘heart’ set to go on sale (Associated Press)
- Welcome to the Dawn of the Age of Robots (Huffington Post, I commented)
- Robot Passes Self-Awareness Test (RoboticsTrends)
- What you need to know about artificial intelligence, and the imminent robot future (CNET)
- Robot carer offers company and security to 94-year-old grandmother
- Pepper the humanoid robot debuts in France (CNET)
- Robot revolution: rise of ‘thinking’ machines could exacerbate inequality (The Guardian, I commented)
- Social robots: The solution to our screen addictions, or just more digital weirdness? (Washington Post)
- Could you fall in love with this robot? (CBS feature on humanoid robots)
- Who needs grandkids? This robot dog wants to be the new companion for the elderly. (recode)
- Robot Revolution – how safe is your job? (YouTube video. I commented) COMMENT: Which jobs are harder to automate? Nursing, primary school teaching, and personal grooming require different levels of education and knowledge, but they all have a strong caretaker component and demand the ability to understand the unspoken or non-obvious needs of patients/students/clients/etc. So it seems that nurses may eventually be more valued than surgeons, and kindergarten teachers paid better than university professors. (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/automation-robots-and-the-pink-collar-future/)
- Will Robots Save the Future of Work? (TechCrunch, I commented) COMMENT: Assigned Tasks or Assumed Tasks — The shift away from task-specific, rules-based programming of robots, to neural networks and AI and learning, will change everything, because it’s not just about automating repetitive and mundane tasks.Enabled by Moore’s Law and the exponentially accelerating pace of tech innovation, robots are beginning to learn, recognize problems and opportunities for improvement on their own, and learn from the past mistakes of others around the world. Soon they’ll thirst for more knowledge, access resources like Wikipedia and YouTube, and even summon advice and assistance from other robots.As fixed-function robots become more flexible, they’ll be able to “assume” tasks autonomously when they can do a better job than humans. They’ll even start assuming human-like traits like creativity, trial & error curiosity, and empathy (or not). That’s where the important field of machine ethics comes in.As you can see in my article (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/automation-robots-and-the-pink-collar-future/), some work is easier to automate than other work, but who knows what centuries of machine evolution will bring since it’s evolving much, much faster than human evolution.
- Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us ‘Godlike’ — COMMENT: Kurzweil heads up engineering at Google, and that should cause us to question him and his company’s motives, because apparently in a related article Google is worried about rogue robots and wants to develop a kill switch. That article (http://www.kurzweilai.net/forbes-3-reasons-to-believe-the-singularity-is-near ) raises all sorts of questions.Will robots comply with Christian ethics and make us Godlike? Or will robots serve the objectives of rogue states or terrorist organizations? Will the Christian robots be Baptist robots or Catholic, Jewish, or Methodist? Will they be Republican or Democrat? ‘Seems like that depends on who programs or trains the robots, because ethics & morality depend on your point of view, not just your religion.If robots are developed for military use, how easily can an enemy “kill” the robot, or turn it against us? In industrial use, will robots be designed to harm competitors or prevent competition entirely? Will they prioritize shareholder investment interests more than public interests, like corporations do today? Will we have a “kill” switch to curtail that behavior? Who decides? Google? Kurzweil?Will robots be subject to the same natural selection process as the rest of evolution? Will they survive the next ice age or nuclear holocaust? Or will they be the cause? We should all think like futurists and consider the different scenarios and what events might drive toward one, or the other.
- Robots will train doctors in the next 10 years, says a MIT expert working on one — COMMENT: As the pace of tech innovation continues to accelerate, and as AI systems and medical devices keep getting cheaper, smaller, more accurate, and easier to use, more & more medical functions will move down-market from doctors in hospitals to consumers at home, and their robots.
- Toyota Invests $14 Million in Aging-In-Place Robot — COMMENT: At Modern Health Talk, I’ve posted several articles on Robots for health and elder care. See http://www.mhealthtalk.com/?s=robots While interesting, ElliQ’s proprietary design is an example of how NOT to create a mass-market product. It too narrowly defines the target audience as socially-isolated seniors, and it doesn’t respond well with typical usage scenarios. The speech recognition and AI engine is too slow compared to Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri, and the visual queues is bulky, ugly, and too basic. A much better design approach would apply Universal Design principles to industry-standard platforms like Android and i-OS so anyone could easily and intuitively use the system regardless of age or ability. Alexa and iPad are so popular and widely deployed in the market that it makes no sense to introduce a proprietary platform, because that increases costs, minimizes third-party app development, and limits functionality and market penetration. So in my view Toyota is wasting their money.