Internet friends Paul and Akari Nelson have just returned from their semi-regular trip to Japan and a tour of that country’s cultural assets – along with some newfound insight into the country’s fascination with technology.
“It’s widely embraced,” Akari said. “From Japanese television to children’s toys.”
But the friends said they were most surprised by a visit to a local restaurant, when a mobile, feline-featured robotic “waiter” rolled up to greet them and take their food order.
“I was floored,” Paul said. “Even though it was pretty cool. The restaurant chain has been having trouble finding employees and turned to robot waitstaff to help ensure contact-less service. From what we could tell, everyone was accepting of the change.”
Robots with digital facial displays and programmed ability to take orders, serve a table of four and give instructions for cleaning up afterward were brought in after testing by the restaurant chain found the molded plastic waiters cut service time in half.
“They talk to you when you pet them, give basic instructions and even tell a few jokes,” Akari said. “It was working for the business but I would think the voice, which was a little cutesy, would tend to annoy customers after a while.”
Nevertheless, a new generation of so-called Robo Sapiens is up and on the march, tasked with everything from assisting soldiers in combat to doing those repetitive chores around the house humans find so boring.
And rather than fearing them, their designers insist, humans should realize the latest iteration of robots are here to help.
In fact, they maintain, the biggest trend of 2023 will be the realization that robots are best used to amplify people rather than replacing them.
During a time of social distancing, Japan’s Robotics market saw major growth and appears to be going strong, with analysts saying the industry could be valued at as much as ¥10 trillion/US$90 billion by 2035.
In the U.S., Robotics market revenue is projected to reach $7.26bn this year – with Service robotics projected to lead the way.
These include cleaning robots for public places, delivery robots in offices or hospitals, fire-fighting robots, rehabilitation robots and surgery robots in hospitals. Smart robots are being used in manufacturing, healthcare, national defense, energy and utility, as well as other industries.
“These new robots are just fundamentally different,” Robert Playter, chief executive of Boston Dynamics, told the Wall Street Journal last year.
Although Boston Dynamics is best known for its dog-like “Spot” and viral videos of the robot roaming the woods and dancing to pop songs, Playter maintains the latest generation of robotics feature mobility, vision, and behavioral flexibility unseen in industrial predecessors in use in manufacturing since the 60s.
Pretty neat. I can use a little help around the house.
I like the one that moves your hand away if you touch its face. I like my robots to have a sense of self worth and dignity.
That last one is kind of cute. Do you know if he’s ocularizing anyone?
“I like my robots to have a sense of self worth and dignity.”
“That last one is kind of cute.”
Put a mirror to those conceptions.
They are machines! Projecting what you see in them and feel about them is irrelevant to whatever they are or may become.
I, too, could use a little help around the house, the yard, the restaurant. Hopefully, they will serve, “amplify”, our ability to provide for ourselves.
Give “Ex Machina” a screening…
Yeah, a fave. I bought that one. I have watched it multiple times. It’s got that one central plot flaw, namely the dubious notion that a super-genius would still use ID cards instead of something biometric. The writers got a little lazy there, but I love it anyway…A brilliant thought experiment.
We just want his house…
Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldalen, Norway is apparently the setting for much of it. Pretty cool. Norway makes for a pretty gorgeous canvas in general. The wife and I have been contemplating a rail trip up to the northern lights. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet.
“Ava… stop! Ava!”
I’m sorry Dave, I don’t see any point in continuing this conversation.