There are some very genuine concerns that robots will begin to rapidly replace jobs where humans have traditionally worked. The reality is that yes, some jobs will be lost through the increasing use of robots, but many will be saved. Here are the top five upcoming industries for robotics in the next decade.
The goal of using robots in construction is to make the act of constructing faster, safer, and cheaper, all while staying effective. Drones are used on construction sites as topographical mapping tools. Since topographical maps are important and essential to planning a construction site but remain relatively expensive to produce, drones have helped to create real time topographical maps that are more effective and more affordable.
Aside from drones, machines have been involved on many other construction fronts. For example, the prefabrication of homes before they come onto the construction site has helped reduce the amount of time that it takes to build a home, and ensure the accuracy of the homes being built.
With the use of bricklaying robots, there is a significant increase of productivity with masonry. These robots can lay up to 2,000 bricks a day. 3D printers are making their way onto the construction market as well. Essentially a large self-driving 3D printer on wheels, this robot can create the scaffolding of a structure in just 13.5 hours, allowing buildings to be created with very little time and energy from humans.
There are multiple viewpoints about how (and if) robots add any value to education. Many teachers and parents believe having children interact with robots can generate false relationships, which can create issues for future human communication and commitment, while others are trying to reinvent the way students learn.
Having machines in the classroom can help students immensely. For children who are chronically ill or undergoing medical treatment, distance learning with robots like VGO can help them stay on course. These robots have a screen with a two way camera to make for a more personalized approach to offsite learning. With distance learning and robotic interactions in the classroom projected to be more commonplace, VGO is likely to be a staple of education.
Robotics in the classroom have allowed children with autism and other developmental disorders to engage better with education. By forgoing the need to sift through confusing facial expressions and social cues, autistic children can engage more in the classroom with the robot.
Smaller robots and toolkits are used to teach robotics and computer science in schools. They can be manipulated to teach among a variety of engineering disciplines. The human-like shape of newer robots allows for an easier interaction. These allow and encourage children to be more creative with technology. Robots like RobotsLab BOX help to explain difficult concepts in math and science subjects.
3. National Security
Many military chiefs are looking beyond better screenings in airports, calling for an increase in robotics to use on a grander scale for our national security. The most important detail to note about robots in national security is they do not replace personnel but allow the same number of personnel to do more over larger areas—which is the most effective way to increase national security.
Adding robots to a task force allows for soldiers to go places they normally couldn’t. Robots, or unmanned vehicles, allow for effective and safe bomb retrieval, keeping the soldiers on the ground in war time at a safe distance. These allow for safe and effective vehicle inspections and roadside inspections without putting our military personnel more at risk. Robots can also help transport heavy equipment over treacherous terrain like ice, foothills, and forested areas, where soldiers have traditionally had a hard time accessing.
Border security has increased its use of drones. Borders can be long and difficult to patrol via the ground, so it helps to have another pair of “eyes” in the sky. Unmanned drones can also carry equipment to remote areas. The future hope is that eventually these types of drones can help carry wounded soldiers out of combat.
4. Scientific Research
There are a multitude of different ways that robots have found themselves in the science research world. Recently a “brain-on-a-chip” device was created to test and predict the effects of biological and chemical agents, along with diseases on the brain over time. Technology like this seems far from the traditional robot character that we are familiar with but it works as part of the brain to track electrical currents and shows how cells interact and communicate with one another.
This type of “brain on chip” technology allows scientists to go from a macro worldview to a micro world view. It helps them analyze how disease spreads through the brain, how and why epileptic seizures occur, and to understand how PTSD affects the brain over time.
These days surgeons are using 3D models of patients’ hearts to get inside information on a condition prior to conducting surgery. This technique allows a doctor to look at specific arteries and other aspects of the heart that need attention to understand how significant the upcoming surgery needs to be.
On the conservation front, a tech firm named Neurala has used their specially made drones and software to help them pinpoint and identify where elephants and rhinos are living in Africa. This live feed drone allows conservationists to protect these endangered species from poachers. The hope is that technology like Neurala can help to make poaching less common, and make catching and prosecuting poachers more commonplace.
The world of relying on human counterparts to run a business is slowly disappearing. Already many companies rely on robots to help them with simple tasks like document scanning, shipping and receiving in warehouses, and taking overall business inventory. Traditionally robots have been used in industrial manufacturing to ensure a quality control of products, but the time of robots taking over mundane tasks is dwindling.
While robots in standard business settings are automating the humdrum jobs, some are taking over the businesses entirely. Spread, a lettuce company in Japan, is the first farm entirely run by robots. These machines are responsible for seeding, watering, weeding, and trimming lettuce heads after they have been harvested. This farm can harvest up to 30,000 heads of lettuce a day, making the act of agriculture more automated and effective.
The belief is that in the next decade robotics across all industries will become more commonplace. The top increase in robotics will be seen among jobs in construction, education, national security, scientific research, and business. As the technology for robotics and machines increases, there will be more ways that it can fit into the modern day industries.