The Internet Hasn't Improved Our Lives But Robots Will
Posted on Mar 18, 2015 2:18 PM. 6 min read time
Over the last few decades a lot of innovation has been brought to the market. Starting from military and lab uses to general public applications. However, there is not a lot of technology that has been as widely spread as the Internet. Yet I have to ask: Has the Internet really improved our lives?
Yes, the Internet has changed our day to day life. It brings a new perception to existent things. But does it really enhance our every day productivity. Email is useful, but so is a phone call. Online shops are just mail-order catalogs on steroids and ordering things by the mail has been around for awhile. Google is basically the biggest library you can imagine with a librarian on speed. The Internet has taken already existent things and transform them. But have any big innovations arisen from this? Or does it just makes already existing things easier?
The only exception may be social networks. It did create a new platform where people can connect to each other, it facilitates communications and brings advertising to the next level. Can we consider social networks an innovation? My point here is to say that the Internet has taken existent stuff and put it into your computer, so it is easier for everyone to do business and communicate. But what about robotics, what has it brought to the world?
Robotization is helping manufacturers step up to the next level right now. With various applications, manufacturing processes are getting faster, leaner and more productive than ever. But for everyone else that is not in the manufacturing world, what are the possible innovations that can improve our lives that aren't related to the Internet?
We are still in the early stage of robotics, so it is pretty hard to tell how robots will change our lives, but we are heading in the right direction. In fact, experts predict that robots will create their very own economy. With Google spending more than 10B$ on R&D and a huge part of it going into automation, it is pretty clear that they have a robotic vision of the future. Robotics that are creating completely new things.
''With the exception of social networks, the internet didn’t really do that. It mainly just disrupted existing ones. But the combustion engine created the car industry, and the steam ship and the train created a global trading system. Robotics promises to do something similar''. - Matthew Linn, The Telegraph
With the introduction of automated cars or ''driver-less cars'' the impact on society can be huge. The first iteration of an intelligent car must have sensors all around your car so that it can help see what is going on around your car and eventually help you make decisions. This can reduce the number of accidents, then the number of deaths due to different types of road crashes. The next iteration is to have completely autonomous cars that can have a better perception than you of what is going on around the car and can literally drive you where you want to go. With 28 people who die from drunk driving accidents every day only in the United States, having an automated car can save lives. I am still not talking about accident due to texting and other errors, mostly human. This one and only innovation would save more lives than could probably be attributed to the Internet in its whole existence.
What's up next?
Robotics have the potential to make us a lot more efficient. With the possibility of having automated lawnmowers, vacuums, delivery systems, cleaning systems and others, I could spend more time doing stuff that I like and less time doing boring daily tasks. So, robotics will 'create time' to do other stuff such as, exercise or spending time on Facebook... this damn Internet, always in the loop.
Robots can also be key to your next sporting goal like being one of the best ping-pong players in the world. Just sayin'.
Finally, robots will lead to whole new industries of their own. All those drone delivery aircraft and driverless cars will have to be designed, manufactured and maintained. It will also bring back a manufacturing economy. In fact, instead of sending production to emerging countries, we can keep the production here by introducing robots to our workshops, lowering the manufacturing costs and creating and maintaining labor that would have lost their jobs because of outsourcing to China.
An economy driven by rising productivity and rapid innovation would be far healthier than what we are living right now. Robots might be about to deliver that – in between mowing the lawn, dropping the kids off at school, and popping out to collect the weekly shopping. I may have a bias, but I really think that robots are a good way to help us have a better life. Even with the different innovations that are emerging, all of this has to be done with a certain amount of caution since you don't want to bring out a robot army in one single shot and hope everything will work out. It has to be done progressively. The first step is to change perceptions about robots with the general public. In the mean time, if you want to take a look at different innovations that are being created in labs right now, follow the link below to see the latest research projects using our 3-Finger Adaptive Robot Gripper.