The rise of humanoid robots is a fascinating development that has the potential to impact various industries and society at large. The world of humanoid robotics has come a long way since its first introduction in the 1950s. These days, robots are no longer just clunky machines that perform simple tasks. Instead, they are becoming more sophisticated and resemble humans in their appearance and movements. As a result, the potential impact of humanoid robots on various industries and society is enormous, and it’s time to take a closer look.
Industries That Could Benefit from Humanoid Robots
Humanoid robots can revolutionize various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, customer service, and entertainment. For example, in healthcare, robots and their uses advanced to complex assignments from surgery and prosthetics to checking blood pressure and patient care.
In manufacturing, robots can perform repetitive tasks with greater precision and speed. On Wednesday, May 24, an AI startup raised $70 million from investors to build a general-purpose humanoid robot. The new funding will accelerate the manufacturing of its first autonomous humanoid. Brett Adcock, founder, and CEO at Figure, invested $20 million. Other investors include Bold Ventures and Aliya Capital.
Last year, Tesla revealed its humanoid robot prototype Optimus. CEO Elon Musk predicted the electric vehicle maker could take orders for the robot in three to five years and sell them for under $20,000.
In customer service, robots can assist with inquiries and orders, freeing up human agents to handle more complex tasks. In the entertainment sector, robots create lifelike characters in movies and video games, providing a more immersive experience for viewers.
Examples of Successful Implementations
One of the most successful humanoid robot implementations is Pepper, a robot developed by SoftBank Robotics. Pepper interacts with humans in various settings, including retail, healthcare, and hospitality. For example, Pepper can assist customers with inquiries in retail and provide product recommendations. In addition, Pepper can be a companion for patients, providing emotional support and entertainment. In hospitality, Pepper can greet guests and provide information about the hotel’s amenities.
Another example is Sophia, a humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics. Sophia has been featured in various media outlets and has even been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia. Sophia is designed to resemble a human and can interact with people using natural language processing. She has been used in various settings, including conferences and events, to provide information and engage with attendees.
Concerns and Challenges Associated with Humanoid Robots
While the potential benefits of humanoid robots are vast, there are also concerns and challenges associated with their use. Safety is a significant concern, as robots can harm humans if not designed and programmed correctly. Ethical considerations also come into play, such as using robots in healthcare and their impact on human jobs. There is also the issue of job displacement, as robots can perform tasks previously done by humans, leading to job losses. These humanoid robots will eventually do more or maybe fewer manual jobs than a human could.
The Future of Humanoid Robotics
The future of humanoid robotics is exciting, with potential developments including increased autonomy, improved mobility, and enhanced artificial intelligence.
Elon Musk said he believes Tesla’s humanoid robot worker will make more money than its cars. As part of its 2023 Investor Day, the world saw a glimpse of its Optimus humanoid robot. Since its creation nineteen months ago, the Tesla Bot is now doing basic tasks.
But once these humanoid robots start doing crappy manual jobs faster, cheaper, and more reliably than humans, these will sell quicker than anyone can make them. So there’s plenty of room for companies to invest in this sector, and the better time to get on board with the robot game is now.
As robots become more sophisticated, they can perform more complex tasks, leading to even greater efficiency and cost savings. First, however, it’s essential to consider the implications of these advancements and ensure their ethical and safe use. Humanoid robots have the potential to revolutionize the way people work, live, and interact with each other.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
WIRED: Humanoid Robots Are Coming of Age; by Will Knight
Reuters: AI startup Figure raises $70 million to build humanoid robots; by Krystal Hu
New Atlas: High-tech renaissance man Brett Adcock on Figure’s humanoid robots; by Loz Blain