2013 was a big year for robotics. According to the International Federation of Robotics more robots were sold in 2013 than in any other year. Not only that, the future looks like it will only get brighter for the industry.
When you ask someone to describe a robot, they might tell you that robots are little metal humanoids equipped with beeps and boops, flashing lights, and sometimes a face. They will basically describe a robot from Star Wars or the like. It’s true there are companies out there developing and producing robots with human features. Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University, has created a few slightly nightmarish androids that might be a touch too human-like.
While these robots are great for inspiring science fiction, they are not the most abundant nor the most immediately useful. More and more robots are popping up on production lines. You’ve probably seen those commercials with giant robotic arms working together on assembly lines. They work in perfect unison with grace and precision, like a perfectly choreographed robotic ballet. The robots on these production lines aren’t walking and talking, they’re not flying through space, but they are still amazing.
Some people are worried that the drastic speed with which robotics is growing will have a negative impact on jobs. This might not be the case. New data suggests that jobs aren’t disappearing because of robots, they are merely being re-appropriated.
A study conducted by Metra Martech concluded that 3.6 jobs are created for every robot that is deployed, and by 2016 110,000 jobs new jobs will be created across the globe.
The idea is that while robotics may lower the number of jobs on production lines, it will increase the number of jobs in the electronics sector.
The promise of more efficiency, more precision, more regularity is enough to entice anyone. Right now robotics seems to be the most promising means of achieving these goals. Last year proved to be a record-breaking year for robotics, and 2014 is well on track to surpass it. At this rate robots will be in just about every factory before you know it!