Humans have always had an inexplicable fear of the unknown. In some primal parts of our brains, not being able to grasp the concept of something makes us fear that process or object. The same ambition that drives us to find out more is the other end of the emotion that creates fear of the unknown. Now, we’ve invented artificial intelligence, and even experts in the field aren’t entirely sure of how it works, just that it does. At a more consumer-facing level, we utilize artificial intelligence that is very transparent how it functions. Everything from navigation software to itinerary planning can be automatically arranged for us to get the most efficient use of our resources. Even so, these programs are all stored inside of our phones, and we can safely ignore their suggestions if we feel to.
Robotics has kept pace with artificial intelligence, and its innovations have become quite practical. Samsung unveiled a Bot Chef who is skilled at making you a salad on command, for example. Delta Airlines showed off an exoskeleton that can boost the strength and endurance of the human body. Robotics offers a lot of promise from the creation of artificial limbs to entire suits that can help us performs difficult tasks so much easier. Combining AI and robotics introduces interesting interplays. There are several benefits to the industry that the combination of AI and robotics can offer.
Robotics as a Tool for AI
A robot is any physical machine that can autonomously perform a task. However, these autonomous robots can only operate within a very unique, narrow capability. The thinking is that if humanity could offer a little insight into what the robot is doing, it can adapt to minor problems within the system. At that point, it becomes a slightly “smarter” machine. If we design a system where the device learns from its mistakes and automatically compensates for errors as it works, then we’ve successfully combined AI and robotics. The combination of these technologies has the potential to make people’s lives a lot easier. Workers can monitor the performance of robots as opposed to manually performing tasks themselves. The downside of these systems would be that the labor demand for any industry that utilizes these robots will be far less. The robots will correct themselves if any errors arise, and only massive, glaring problems would need a human to address them.
Cost Barriers for Implementation
We already have machines that can perform these complex tasks and learn from them. The UC Berkeley PR2 can fold laundry and learn the way you’d like it to be folded, but the cost of such a system is prohibitively expensive. While businesses through increased demand to drive down prices will eventually make these machines affordable, for the time being (and for quite a while into the future), the application of AI and robotics as a combined unit remains too expensive to apply to routine tasks. As development in the field moves forward, we may see robots that work on machine learning within the next decade. The question of whether humanity is ready for the impact it will make both socially and economically is something that experts are still debating today.