If you’re still one of the people who think robots only belong in science fiction, you better think again because robots are definitely the future!
Next month I will be celebrating my 46th birthday. And even though I am no longer a spring chicken, I am also not an old geezer yet (hey, if everything goes to plan, I’m not even halfway through life). But when I look back on my life, I am amazed to see how much has changed since I was a child. We tend to take these changes for granted these days, but if we look just a few generations back, things were very different. People were lucky to see one or maybe two world-changing inventions in their lifetimes, while in my 46 years on this planet, I have witnessed countless life-changing innovations.
Just take music, for example; When I was a kid, we used to listen to music on vinyl, or as it was previously called, “The phonograph record,” Which is a technology that was invented in 1877. Then, when I became a teenager, Everyone switched to cassettes and started listening to music on the go using their “Walk-man.” This was a fundamental shift in how people regarded music; from a social, group activity, it suddenly became a personal, always-available pastime. Thanks to one invention, the music you choose to listen to defines who you are. And you would think such a change would last for a long time, but just ten years later, everyone ditched their walk-mans in favor of a CD player, and only a few years after that, they ditched their CDs in favor of an iPod, and today we don’t even have a music format! We just stream whatever song we want, whenever we want it.
And all this without even mentioning the personal computer, the smartphone, or the internet! Hell, when I started writing, I did it on a typewriter; now, I’m writing on the cloud (whatever that means). So things have definitely changed in a big way. But what is most interesting about these changes is that throughout this entire journey, people have been skeptical about each and every one of these inventions.
The personal computer? Who needs a computing machine in his home? The internet? It’s just a fad; it won’t catch on! The smartphone? PFFffff! Nothing can replace my trusty blackberry! It’s incredible to see how quick people are to dismiss every new invention that comes their way. We live in a time of constant changes, and people are still deeply rooted in their “old ways” that they adopted just five years ago. And I feel like the same can be said about Robots.
I am a huge believer in robots. I think the robot revolution is finally here, and frankly, I don’t think we can even grasp the change robots will bring to our lives. Robots will change the world in such a profound and fundamental way that in just one decade, we will be unable to live our lives without them, just as we are unable to live without computers or the internet. Robots will not only be our butlers and helpers; they will be the very backbone of our modern society.
As I said, we are already IN the robot revolution; Robots have been building our cars for decades now, but lately, more and more industries have started relying on robots. And once you shift to robotic labor, there is no going back. Take the food industry for example; once you buy a robotic tractor that can work day and night, going from tilling one field to harvesting another without any effort on your part and without paying for labor, there is no way you will go back to a regular old tractor that requires an actual person to operate. Or how about robotic drones that fly autonomously above your field, taking endless snapshots of your crops so you can have exact, real-time data about which crops are growing and which need more attention. Droned that can use the air currents they produce to make sure every leaf of every plant gets the exact amount of pesticide it needs and on top of that can even keep an eye for rabbits, deer, or birds that are eating your crops and swoop over their heads to scare them away. Could a farmer really afford to stop using these robots once he started?
Robots might also bring an end to some of humanity’s worst habits, like slavery and child labor. According to the united nations over 40 million people are treated as slaves and around 120 million children are forced to work in horrible conditions. And while we might think we are not taking any part in such horrific activities, the truth is that our modern society (just like previous societies) is dependent on slavery and forced labor to gather all the materials we need for making so many computers, wires, cell-phones, batteries and all the rest of our modern day conveniences. Robots could work tirelessly in inhumane conditions to supply us with everything we need, and no children need to suffer for it.
Robots are great ‘preventors’ too. Imagine an army of small robots that spend their lives in the sewers of big cities, constantly scanning for any obstructions in the sewer system and preventing a clog from ever happening. These will be some of the “Invisible” robots that keep our cities running without us even knowing they are there or ever giving a thought about them. We could also have special tunnels filled with “invisible” drivers - autonomous cars that deliver goods from one city to the next, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Goods could be delivered from the factory or harbor straight to the shop without crowding our roads and without ever being noticed by the general public. Kids of the future might never know how food arrives at the supermarket or how the parcel you ordered online arrived at your doorstep. It just did!
After 46 years on this planet, and after seeing countless life-changing innovations happening in my lifetime, I am a bit tired of skeptical people telling me “This will never happen” or “This won’t catch on” because dammit, I was right about computers, I was right about the internet and I am right about robots! The robot revolution is here and our children won’t understand how we used to live without them.