National Robotics Week is a time to celebrate the accomplishments that have been made in the field of robotics, but it’s also a time to educate people about robots, and encourage young people to pursue careers that will advance robotics in the future. It’s interesting to think about mankind’s past relationship with robots, as well as what that relationship will look like in the near future.
Robots and Humans: Past
Our relationship with robots is changing. This is true not only of how we use robots but also how we think about robots.
We saw the first modern industrial robot in 1961. Back then, robots weren’t in groceries stores providing speedy checkouts, they weren’t calling us on the phone to sell cruises and internet subscriptions, and they certainly weren’t in our pockets helping us find “restaurants near me”.
For most people, knowledge of robots came from science fiction on screens and in literature. Robots were those things that kind of look like a person, only metal. They wanted to destroy mankind, and also they sometimes had lasers.
Robots and Humans: Present
Many people still default to free-thinking metallic robo-men when you mention robots, but our understanding of robots is slowly changing. We still see shiny humanoid robots in science fiction, but we also see an increasing number of robots in our daily lives.
More people recognize industrial machines, automated cashiers, and “intelligent personal assistants” like Siri as robots.
Industrial robots aren’t human-shaped, they don’t engage in witty banter, and they aren’t bent on world domination, but they’re robots nonetheless.
Recent debates over how industrial robots will affect employment, has helped people learn to view robots in a different way. Sure, some people still view these “job-stealing” robots as scary, but many see how automation benefits mankind.
In other words, we are starting to realize that robots come in different shapes and sizes, and they are integrated in the world that we live in. They’re no longer just the tin men and women of science fiction.
There’s still a fear of robots, but it’s a fear that they threaten our livelihood rather than our lives.
Robots and Humans: Future
Perhaps one day we will see the walking, talking, thinking robots from the screens and pages of sci-fi classics. It wouldn’t be the first time science fiction influenced technology. However, robots of a more mundane, and more practical, kind will continue to have an increasing presence in our lives.
The question isn’t if mankind will have to interact with robots, but how we choose to co-exist with robots. Will we always have a fear of robots? Will fear turn to resentment? Or will past predictions of laser-wielding robots embarking on manhunts one day come true?
It’s fun to speculate, but one thing that’s certain is the present need for smooth running factory machinery. Call us at 429-422-0390 for immediate support or service for your Indramat motion control system.