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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Workplace robots: East vs. West

"Roffey Park is a charitable trust based in Singapore and the UK, recognised for developing innovative learning approaches. 
Photo: Gary Miles
We catch-up with Gary Miles, Director of International Operations and Associate Relations to discover his view on the future of robots." according to Kathryn Cave, Editor at IDG Connect.

Photo: IDG Connect

What are the most interesting uses of robots you’ve seen in the current workplace?
In the caring profession. In the East, China and Japan, robots are being seen as a potential blessing with family members regarding this kind of automation as serving to help caring for elderly and sick relatives and removing the monotony from many menial and dissatisfying tasks.
In the West, in contrast, the main use of robots is still in industry such as highly advanced manufacturing facilities or high volume assembly lines. Other interesting uses of robots are in aerospace industry for outer space exploration enabling scientists to explore in outer space without putting themselves in danger, and Healthcare Delivery in robotic surgery, even if the patient is located in remote areas.

How do you think they’ll be used in the future workplace?
We will see a continuation of the use of robots in manufacturing, aerospace, and defence industries in the short-term, but in the medium-term a greater proportion will be used in medical and caring professions and delivering helping/waiting functions, as can be seen in some restaurants in China.
Longer term we will move to a situation where robots are taking on human behaviour and emotions. Cynthia Breazeal from MIT, for example, has created Kismet, an autonomous robot designed for social interactions with humans.

Kismet the AI Robot 

Kismet apparently has a repertoire of responses driven by emotive and behavioural systems. Crucial to its drives are behaviours it uses to keep its emotional balance so when there are no visual cues to stimulate it, such as a face or a toy, it will become increasingly sad and lonely and look for people to play with. This is just one example of a robotics project that in the long-term will lead to improvements and innovations in the application of robotics to medicine, personal service as well as space and underwater exploration.

Source: IDG Connect