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September 11, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 325 September 2017, Short Stories

Next Big Thing: Robots

Innovation in automation is transforming everything from freeways to grocery stores to operating rooms

Robots in the Real World

Researchers at UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute are working on robotic systems that will sense the environment around them, learn from experience, and act autonomously to assist humans in a course of action. Sponsors of the work include Google, Intel, Qualcomm, Toyota, Adobe, and NASA.

It’s a RoboUniverse, We Just Live in It

San Diego’s annual RoboUniverse tech conference draws everyone from agricultural experts to Disney imagineers to Amazon executives, all to demonstrate and discuss the latest advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Local Leader

Local robotics startup Brain Corporation recently raised $114 million to further its research and development of robot brains. San Diego Magazine reported on its cofounder: “Eugene Izhikevich notes the perfect storm of an ecosystem that’s developing in the robotics space here: a UC San Diego computer science program dedicated to robotic research; many small robotics and drone companies starting up and pushing each other to innovate, along with Qualcomm as an anchor and leader in mobile technology; and Mexico right next door with efficient manufacturing capabilities. ‘The best minds want to work here,’ he says. ‘You can have your morning coffee at the office, visit the manufacturing facility in Mexico in the afternoon, and be home for dinner with your family.’ While a robot mows your lawn.”

Warren’s Not Worried

Sure, robots and artificial intelligence will eliminate jobs, which will greatly impact politics. But in a talk at Columbia Business School, Warren Buffett said it’s all good, as long as productivity goes up. More output per capita is ultimately good for society:

“If one person could push a button and turn out everything we turn out now, is that good for the world or bad for the world? You would free up all kinds of possibilities for everything else.”

$87 Billion

Projected global spending on robotics by 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group, which cited increasing consumer demand for in-home robotic devices and autonomous cars as a driver of the industry.

New Robotics Companies by Sector Since 2012

40% Consumer

26% Military

24% Commercial

10% Industrial

Source: Boston Consulting Group

Learning Curve

We asked Hatch staff what they wish the robots of tomorrow would learn to do (so we don’t have to). Here’s what they said.

  • Mow the lawn
  • Pump gas
  • Iron shirts
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Fold laundry
  • Change the sheets
  • Reason with my spouse

Send your robot wish list to erin@sdmag.com!

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