The Robot Industry Today & Where it's Going
Where We Thought We Would Be
If you look at just about any old sci-fi movie or read any book based in the future, people predicted that robots would be commonplace in both the workplace and in homes by this time. Picture R2D2 and C3PO walking around, Rosie from "The Jetson’s" assisting in the homes. With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, it’s fair to see where this prediction held some validity. At this stage, the closest thing we have to our own robot butlers is Siri telling us the weather and Alexa opening our blinds. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t countless companies all over the world investing millions in robotics and artificial intelligence - just waiting for the right product to hit.
Asian countries seem to be the first places to introduce the rawer form of robots - from robots in restaurants acting as waiters, robots in nursing homes, robots assisting hotels, and more. If you walk through a country like Japan, it’s more than likely that you’ll stumble across some type of robot. But in America, where people are itching to be innovative and exciting, robots are surprisingly rare to find - potentially because people are defensive of their jobs and see robots as a threat to the workforce.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t American robot companies, Boston Dynamics come out with a new more impressive robot regularly. And Softbank Robotics (albeit based in Japan) and Advanced Robot Solutions (a robot distributor) have robots in American airports (pictured left, credit: SJC), banks, offices, trade shows, and hospitals.
What everyone is racing to determine is what can a robot do with all the preexisting exciting technology. Right now the robots on the market are successfully used to give out information and entertain, but there are more opportunities to explore.
There are new developments in AI and robotics daily, and it’s safe to predict that, while we might not all be living like the Jetsons in the next two years, America will start to embrace robots as helpful assistants that make the workplace more efficient - while adding that fun sci-fi thrill that everyone secretly wants to tap into. I see potential in robots acting as translators in hospitals, robots assisting children with learning, and robots working as effective receptionists. Where do you see robotics going?