Future Ideas and Development
The need for future development in industrial robots is governed by the increasing needs of the firm owners and the society to demand a cost effective, accurate and a safe workplace. The development of robotics and its factors are widely varied based on different types of industries, such as, automotive industry, food industry, plastic manufacturing, etc.
Some of the basic factors that can be related to many of such industries are:
For example, the automotive industry would continually strive to improve robot development in the future because of the increasing fuel prices and diminishing fossil fuels. The problem of fuels along with the environmental effects will promote the industry to manufacture efficient and light-weight vehicles (Brogardh, 2007). One of the solutions which has already been proposed but not widely in use is the introduction of hydrogen-fuel cells. This technology has been argued as dangerous due to properties of hydrogen gas. If such a change is applied in the industry, it may lead to development of robots which can minimize human interaction for human safety.
Impacts on employment due to technological progress have always been a concern. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, people have displayed fears that industrialized machines would abolish jobs (Pelaez & Kyriakou, 2008). A famous uprising against technology in the history was by the Luddites. Ever since the introduction of assembly lines in Ford’s manufacturing, various industries have developed technologies to automate various tasks and process which were previously done by humans.
Robots have allowed a wide automation on the procedures in many industries. Experts suggest that by 2050, around 80% of all the activities in automotive sector will be automated (Pelaez & Kyriakou, 2008). In the figure below, the chart displays an estimation of automation rates in the future for various industries.
Image retrieved from (Pelaez & Kyriakou, 2008, p. 1183)
Image retrieved from (Pelaez & Kyriakou, 2008, p. 1184)
Based on the above projections, if the trend is predicted correctly, it will cause a strong impact on employment in those sectors. As a result of automation, the companies would only look to hire fewer and more skilled workers. This could mean loss of job security, worse working conditions and decrease in earnings for many.
It has been predicted that by the year 2050, the presence of robots will be common and human-robot relation will be strengthened in an exceptional way (Pelaez & Kyriakou, 2008). Nye (2006) defines projection as a term concerning future sales, profits, market shares, and so forth of new models of established technologies. Below is an example of projections by Japanese experts.
Robotics has become a widely popular topic over the past decade. Courses related to industrial robotics and control are now offered at almost every post secondary institute. Researchers are always trying to develop robot technology which is more flexible, safe, and accurate. Some examples are compact robots, backward bending robots, heavy load robots, multi controlled robots, and sensor-controlled robots. Other fields of ongoing development include wireless communication in robot systems, user and application interfaces of robot control to make robot programming simpler (Brogardh, 2007).
Transhumanism is another topic which discusses future ideas on technology. This group does not particularly deal with industrial robots, but it is a movement that desires to improve human condition through applied reason. Their methods focus on developing technologies to eliminate aging and to enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
Their ideas include increasing the life span of humans, increasing human brain power, enhancing the human immune system, and providing a control over emotions.
However, predicting technology in the future can be inaccurate. Nye (2006) argues that technologies are unpredictable and far from being deterministic. In many cases, the technologies are driven and shaped by the society. Edison invented the phonograph primarily for businessmen and he did not know that it could be used in the entertainment industry until he got a proper response from the society (Nye, 2006).
In The Future