Predictions are difficult, especially about the future. I always thought that was a Yogi Berra statement. But it could have been Niels Bohr, the physicist. Or others. But it’s true.
I’ve offered thoughts here and again here about the future workforce in manufacturing. Are we all going to be replaced?
Economist Andrew McAfee tries to strike a balanced pose by acknowledging that, yes, probably, droids will take our jobs — or at least the kinds of jobs we know now. In this TED talk, he thinks through what future jobs might look like, and how to educate coming generations to hold them.
But even better is this TED Talk from Rodney Brooks of iRobot and now Rethink Robotics which dives deeply into demographics. He says robots, can become our essential collaborators, freeing us up to spend time on less mundane and mechanical challenges. He further points out how valuable this could be as the number of working-age adults drops and the number of retirees swells. He introduces us to Baxter, the robot with eyes that move and arms that react to touch, which could work alongside an aging population — and learn to help them at home, too.
This are the thoughts of a technology futurist and practitioner. Well worth a watch.
Another good point towards robots working side by side with humans is they can do the repetitive and heavy lifting part like I seen in a fanuc robot video that load and unload heavy parts in and out of CNC machine. The robot can easily adapt to parts of different sizes and shapes leaving the operator to do more advanced processes like QC inspections.