Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


Robotics, Ageing, and Employment - where are we and what's next?

Friday 28 February 2014

The link to the article below will take you to an overview of how robotic design is developing towards a more 'natural' form of human movement. To a larger extent, this is part of the normalisation process so that those of us exposed to robotics can be more accepting of their presence. This is indeed a very good sign - a move away from a capability focus toward an acceptance framework should speed takeup of robotics especially in more socially demanding areas like hospital assistance and aged care. And there's one layer that is yet to be included:

Here's the link to the story first featured on KurzweilAI called 'Making Robots More Like Us'. For those of you have heard me speak about Honda's 'Azimo' you'll know the reason the humanoid was so small: it's at a comfortable eye level for elderly people sitting down and as such, less of a physical threat.

So assuming that size and type of mobility is covered effectively, we can expect the facial software programs that are well underway (which display quite natural looking facial movements), to be incorporated into these more human like machines. From a jobs perspective that makes them an easy and ready replacement for jobs like toll booth operators, desk bound security, reception clerks and even to an extent, check out staff in supermarkets or drive through restaurants.

And the step after that that MUST come for their to be a more ready take up is smell. Despite our relatively limited Olfactory capabilities, Humans are surprisingly good at detecting the smell of other humans - the novel 'Perfume' by Patrick Suskind explains in delightful form the impact of human scent. The lack of a 'human scent' will expose robots (even those plainly out in the open) as less palatable to us. Expect robotics to move into artificial pheromones. Robots - coming to a perfume counter near you!

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