Complex Made Simple

From robots to avatars, man and machine are merging

Robots are moving from developing technology to an indispensable tool supporting logistics, manufacturing, materials handling, inspection, healthcare construction, and delivery

Self-driving sidewalk robots will start to see scaled deployment across major cities Iraq’s Mosul ‘hired’ androids to glide back and forth in a restaurant to serve their clientele From robot baristas to virtual doctors, human interaction is being gradually stripped away from daily life

Robots are moving from developing technology to an indispensable tool supporting logistics, manufacturing, materials handling, inspection, healthcare construction, and delivery.

Innovation-minded executives shaping the world of automation had their say on what they expect in 2022 and beyond.

1- Interoperability

Brian Gerkey, Co-Founder & CEO, Open Robotics said: “Industries such as healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, manufacturing, and others are all adopting a second or third wave of robots. Interoperability is the next big challenge in robotics. If a robot from Vendor A doesn’t communicate with a robot from Vendor B, then the end-user is going to have a problem on their hands.”

2- Creativity in robotics will flourish

Wendy Tan White, CEO, Intrinsic said: “We’re on the cusp of an industrial robotics renaissance, driven by software-first solutions, cheaper sensing, and more abundant data. When more developers and entrepreneurs also get to leverage cutting-edge AI, perception, and simulation tools, previously infeasible things may become highly practical, and those never-imagined become very plausible.”

3- Robots will really deliver

Prof. Robin R. Murphy, Ph.D., Texas A&M University said: “2022 will be the year robot delivery finally takes off. During the pandemic, drones were used for medical applications delivering samples from hospitals to laboratories faster than vehicles could drive across town. This can work in urban areas, not just rural areas.”

4- Tech-enabled recycling

Matanya Horowitz, Founder & CEO, AMP Robotics said: “2022 will be the year recycling really advances toward an inflection point, driven by AI, robotics, and data capture, as well as a broader appreciation for the environmental and economic impacts of keeping resources in use. These technologies are strengthening existing infrastructure and enabling the development of new infrastructure to maximize the volume and quality of recycled feedstock at a lower cost than what might have been possible previously.”

5- Robots take to sidewalks

Ali Kashani, Co-Founder & CEO, Serve Robotics said: “In 2022, we expect to see self-driving commercialized, with sidewalk robots starting to see scaled deployment across major cities. After over a decade of R&D, for the first time, we will realize the economic value of autonomous mobility as the marginal cost of robotic delivery falls below the rising labor cost.”

But fear not. A robot capable of learning, reproducing, observing its environment, and evolving is still a long way from reality.

Autonomous robots capable of complex real-world interaction results in the inevitable displacement of the human workforce. Elon Musk believes the solution for this is universal basic income and that work in the future will be entirely optional.

Iraq becoming robotized

Iraq’s Mosul ‘hired’ androids to glide back and forth in a restaurant to serve their clientele.

“Welcome,”…”We wish you a good time in our restaurant,”… “We would be happy to have your opinion on the quality of the service,”… chime the automated attendants, red eyes blinking out of their shiny blue and white exteriors.

Image source: hurriyetdailynews.com

“On television, you see robots and touch-screen tablets in the UAE, Spain, and Japan,” said Rami Chkib Abdelrahman, owner of the White Fox which opened last June.

“I’m trying to bring these ideas here to Mosul.”

The futuristic servers are the result of technology developed in the northern city.

The star attractions are the two androids, sporting a scarf and black beret, shuttling back and forth across the restaurant on rails to deliver orders.

The robots are imported, Abdelrahman said, adding that everything in the restaurant is digital, including the 15 touch-screen tables with built-in menus.

South Korea’s tech transformation

The future has arrived in Seoul, where people can order freshly made coffee, shop in-store, and attend hospital appointments without any human interaction as the South Korean capital moves towards a contactless society.

From robot baristas to virtual doctors, human interaction is being gradually stripped away from daily life there.

Seoul is making long-term plans for a “metaverse,” or digital world, in which contactless public services are provided on a virtual platform, becoming the first major city in the world to do so. City officials can be consulted through headsets.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in announced a Digital New Deal in 2020 which outlines plans to prepare for a “surging demand for remote services.”

It plans to promote building 18 smart hospitals to provide remote healthcare services and providing small businesses with support for online sales.

As part of its five-year plan, Seoul Metropolitan Government said it will establish the metaverse platform and introduce services in the economy, education, and tourism sectors next year.

The city said offering public services on the metaverse platform would cut “time, space and language limitations based on cutting-edge technologies.”