Humanoid Robots Are Becoming More Like Ninjas (and What This Could Mean for Us)
You may have seen walking humanoid robots before, such as Honda’s ASIMO robot or Boston Dynamic’s Atlas. But with the latest developments in technology, today’s humanoid robots can do more than walk and pick up boxes—they can also perform backflips. Below is a viral video of a robot doing a backflip on YouTube:
Isn’t it neat? While it’s refreshing to see a robot show off its acrobatics, if you scroll through the comments in the video, you’ll notice many people find this terrifying—as this is an indication that robots are “taking over the world”. And in some cases, it’s already happening. Many robots are replacing traditional human jobs. They can perform manual tasks, such as delivering packages, flipping burgers, climbing ladders, and turning valves in decommissioned nuclear facilities.
As far a ninja robots goes, even though the Atlas robot has a long way before it merits the ninja status, it’s getting there.
Since Softbank’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics earlier in 2017, you can expect to see even more advanced robots in the near future.
Softbank’s Acquisition of Boston Dynamics
Softbank, a Japanese-based technology conglomerate, believes the acquisition of Boston Dynamics from tech giant Alphabet is the key to unlocking human capabilities, something that Softbank has long struggled with. The landmark deal, also includes the acquisition of the robotic firm Schaft. Both Boston Dynamics and Schaft specialize in the development of robotics capable of human and animal movement.
In addition to designing a humanoid robots that can run and perform backflips, Boston Dynamics has also created robots that take on other forms, from a legs and wheels robot to a four-legged robot. When it comes to heavy-lifting, these robots easily out-perform humans. For instance, Boston Dynamics’ quadruped robot BigDog can carry a load of 340 lbs at an incline of 35 degrees and at a top speed of 4 miles an hour, while being surprisingly nimble and stable on its feet.
How this affects our labour market
The advent of robots has a significant impact on our labour market, replacing human workers in a variety of fields, including those found in the manufacturing, agricultural, and health services industries.
Although robots are replacing manual labour jobs in many of our top industries, they are also creating new kinds of work. As stated in a Forbes article, while America has lost 7-million manufacturing jobs in recent decades, it has also added some 53-million jobs in services.
As well, industrial robots are increasing labour productivity and wages. According to a study by Redwood Software and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), A 1% increase in robotics investment, correlates with an increase in GDP per capita of 0.03%.
So, even though many people find humanoid robots “creepy,” they are actually on our side and are boosting the economy.
The need for robotic technicians
As robots are being implemented by a variety of industries, you can expect to see an increase in demand for robotic technicians. These are the people who build, install, test, or maintain robotic equipment or related automated production systems and they need trained automation technicians. If you’re considering a future in automation technician, have a look at George Brown College’s Industrial Automation Training Certificate program. This program will give you the skills and experience you need to help you build a career in the world of automation.