Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “With regard to robots, in the early days of robots people said, ‘Oh, let’s build a robot’ and what’s the first thought? You make a robot look like a human and do human things. That’s so 1950s. We are so past that.” If you don’t believe him, take a look at what these little bots are doing these days:
- Robots are doing acrobatics. Atlas can do a backflip and raise its arms after nailing the landing. What’s next? The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics?
- They shop for you. Walmart is testing shelf-scanning robots in their store.
- In Saudi Arabia, a robot became a citizen. However, no one knows exactly what that means yet.
- If a robot can become a citizen, should they be allowed to fight? Welcome, combat for robots.
- Dubai police force has a peaceful Robocop patrolling its sidewalks.
- Bill Gates believes bots that take jobs away from humans should be taxed. Can we make the tax code any more complicated?
- They can play cards, bet and win, even when humans cheat. Carnegie Mellon’s AI bot, LIbratus beat out 4 world class poker pros in a Heads-up No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament.
- They are writing books and news reports.
- If drones can deliver packages, then why can’t robots deliver food? It’s happening in London.
- Norwegian scientists have developed a robot that can debone a chicken.
- The University of Southern California San Francisco Medical Center has invested in automation that can fill prescriptions, allowing pharmacists and techs to spend more time counseling patients and consulting with physicians.
- They are acting as Buddhist monks at funerals.
For those of us who grew up with role models like C-3PO, Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Daleks, none of this should come as a surprise. Researchers have often taken inspiration from screen. Now, we have to think of what rights robots will have as they gain more roles in society.
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