Posts Tagged ‘robots’
By Alex Lane (original article: What is a Smart Home? Samsung’s NaviBot S can clean the low places)
The original Smart Home device has to be the Teasmade, and the textbooks say that a smart home is one that uses home networking technology and your internet connection to automate and simplify everyday living.
It’s the use of networking and broadband connections that takes smart home technology beyond simple home automation, where each device usually stands alone, with its own control system.
Smart home tech is a fast-growing field, from cleaning your house to opening the curtains and switching on the lights. There’s also a growing field of utility and power management, for your gas, water and electricity [and for home health care]. Surrounding them all are unified networking and control systems that can control and monitor all of your devices, not just one for each.
Editor’s note: Last night I participated in ”I am Robot. Hear me roar,” an online discussion hosted by HuffPost Live and using Google+ Hangouts to support several people connected via webcam. The discussion questioned how automation can make human workers obsolete. Will robots make your own job as a caretaker obsolete? I was asked to participate because of my interest in tech futures that include Healthcare Robots. Jamais Cascio also participated and offered some quite interesting insights. He shared the following article with the audience and gave me permission to republish it here.
Different perspectives: Following the article are two videos.
First is a PBS report that looks at robots and automation as replacing human workers. It’s what many Democrats worry about, and many unemployed workers complain about.
Second is a heart-warming movie trailer from Robot and Frank, which opens in theaters this month and gives a rosier view of technology that’s more like a friendly assistant than a job killer. This optimistic view is similar to the picture Republicans paint, but with no worry about those left behind and unemployed.
So which is it? Just as futurists consider different scenarios and what may lead to their preferred version of the future, you too can decide which version you like and either help make it happen for yourself, or prevent it from happening to others. As you think about this, realize that technology won’t slow down, but its impact on society can be controlled with smart policy decisions. Add your own perspectives below.
The Pink Collar Future
By Jamais Cascio, futurist, writer, speaker and founder of Open The Future
The claim that robots are taking our jobs has become so commonplace of late that it’s a bit of a cliché. Nonetheless, it has a strong element of truth to it. Not only are machines taking “blue collar” factory jobs — a process that’s been underway for years, and no longer much of a surprise except when a company like Foxconn announces it’s going to bring in a million robots (which are less likely to commit suicide, apparently) — but now mechanized/digital systems are quickly working their way up the employment value chain. “Grey collar” service workers have been under pressure for awhile, especially those jobs (like travel agent) that involve pattern-matching; now jobs involving the composition of structured reports (such as basic journalism) have digital competition, and Google’s self-driving car portends a future of driverless taxicabs. But even “white collar” jobs, managerial and supervisory in particular, are being threatened — in part due to replacement, and in part due to declining necessity. After all, if the line workers have been replaced by machines, there’s little need for direct human oversight of the kind required by human workers, no? Stories of digital lawyers and surgeons simply accelerate the perception that robots really are taking over the workplace, and online education systems like the Khan Academy demonstrate how readily university-level learning can be conducted without direct human contact.
Robots and other assistive technology may be inevitable in aged care moving into the future, but can they replace the human touch? Annie May reports. Reprinted from Aged Care INsite, Apr/May 2011, and expanded greatly since.
Standing at just 40cm tall and looking suspiciously like the latest toy their grandchildren have been dropping hints about for their upcoming birthdays, Matilda the robot doesn’t give the impression that she has much to offer in the way of care for the elderly.
So when placed in front of an aged care resident to talk about her diet, the resident doesn’t have high expectations. But on admitting to having a love of sweets, Matilda is quick to inform her about all the negative health impacts this indulgence can have. Becoming slightly anxious, – whether a result of being lectured by a bright orange robot or at the thought of having to cut back on her sweets – the resident is then shocked at being reassured by the robot.
How can it be that this baby-face robot can read emotions and give a sensitive response? The result of a breakthrough by Melbourne and Japanese scientists, Matilda is one of two robots, the other her brother Jack, which has been developed with ‘emotional intelligent’ software.
BBC Health News published Two blind British men have electronic retinas fitted this week, and it prompted me to re-post an article from last October, which includes a very good video by CBS News that hinted at electronic retinas. Now it’s starting to happen. I’ll let you follow the link above for details but encourage you to watch the video below for a sense of what technology is enabling for people with disabilities, as well as those who just want to enhance their abilities.
Step by step, bionic engineers are transforming lives in ways that barely could have been imagined until recently.
This CBS News story is about bionic limbs that replace wheelchairs, retinal implants that bring sight to the blind, and synthetic telepathy that reads thoughts and transmits them electronically through a computer and wireless network to control bionics or communicate without formal language.
Steve Mahan, a man who lost 95% of his sight and is now way past legally blind, recently test drove Google’s self driven car, and the result is impressive.
I noticed the video is audio described for the visually-impaired but not captioned for the hearing-impaired.
Taking clothes on and off are essential activities in daily life, but for elderly and physically challenged people this can be difficult due to limited mobility in the upper limbs.
A Breakthrough in Robotics: WAM™ Arms at NAIST Aid in Dressing the Elderly and Infirm
CAMBRIDGE, MA–(Marketwire – Nov 10, 2011) – The Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), of Japan, has created the world’s first robot system that learns to clothe elderly and physically disabled people. Leveraging the concept of “skills transfer” from a human caregiver to a robot, “reinforcement learning” takes place in minutes, gracefully adapting to the individual size and shape of the person being dressed. Barrett Technology, Inc. manufactures the patented robotic arms and is working closely with NAIST researchers. This international collaboration has been a seamless synthesis of Barrett’s contact-compliant hardware and NAIST’s advanced computer intelligence.
Many benefits of modern medicine are helping baby-boomers live well into their 80s and 90s. At the same time couples are having fewer children, thereby constraining family care givers. Many older people want the dignity of independence but often require assistance with basic activities, such as cooking, bathing, and dressing. Increasingly, robots are playing vital roles in solving quality-of-life issues for this growing segment of our population.
Knowledge quickly goes out of date, but foresight enables you to anticipate and navigate change, make good decisions, and take action to create a better future. It’s why I’ve been a member of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society for years, where I meet interesting people with widely varied perspectives of the future. It’s also why I participate in so many Linkedin discussion groups on emerging healthcare issues.
9 Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare
The following nine forecasts came from the World Future Society’s special report, 20 Forecasts for 2011-2025. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist magazine.
Forecast #1: The Race for Genetic Enhancements Will Be What the Space Race Was in the 20th Century. Genetic therapies and biomedical enhancements will be a multibillion-dollar industry. New techniques will enable doctors to change your DNA to revitalize old or diseased organs, enhance your appearance, increase your athletic ability, or boost your intelligence.
I talk to lots of jobseekers who can’t find jobs with benefits, especially if they’re seniors over age 55, so I found this Reuters article, Rise in machines may hinder job growth, especially interesting and added the following comment.
Extend Moore’s Law out 50 years and consider the labor implications of futurist predictions that could all happen in our lifetime. By 2013, a supercomputer (e.g. IBM’s Watson) will have the reasoning and processing capacity of the Human Brain. By 2023, a $1,000 home computer will have that power; and by 2037, a $0.01 embedded computer will. By 2049, a $1,000 computer will have the power of the human Race; and by 2059, a $0.01 computer will. Imagine the labor (and healthcare) implications. Google today only searches and finds information. It doesn’t interpret it or turn it into insight. It’s not self-aware, yet. And other nations are advancing broadband Internet faster than here, which enables offshore outsourcing. Since there are already much faster connections to India than Indiana, all US knowledge-based jobs are at risk, including lawyers and radiologists, but maybe not politician jobs, since they arguably aren’t knowledge based.
In Lessons from Healthcare Innovation in India, this nation has found ways to serve a large, poor and rural population with limited resources (doctors are scarce: 1 per 100,000 people versus 1/160 in the U.S.). But India’s innovation was mostly due to process engineering, rather than technology per say. I can only imagine the results when both are combined and then reflect on the labor force questions posed by the Reuters article (and the future of healthcare).
How do you think tech innovation will affect healthcare and jobs? Weigh in with a comment below.