You’ve seen them in science fiction movies, in cartoons. But what is a real robot? What robots do we use on a day-to-day basis? They have all kinds of utilities, they deliver packages or make pizzas, but they also improve the industries. We see what a robot is, what are the laws of robotics or what is its future.
What is a robot
We all know what a robot is, or at least one comes to mind when we hear the word. The Royal Spanish Academy defines it as “a machine or programmable electronic device, capable of manipulating objects and carrying out operations previously reserved only for people.” Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about robots is science fiction, humanoid robots from movies and series. But the truth is that these machines fulfill all kinds of functions in our day to day life and are not just “futuristic ideas”. Industrial robots are very common as are the different customer service chatbots or even surgical robots or fundamental space robots when it comes to research.
There are multiple uses and multiple forms that little or nothing resemble science fiction cartoons or Mazinger movies. Technology is increasingly advanced and so are its utilities… From robot police dogs to a device created by MIT capable of helping people with reduced mobility dress. The possibilities are almost endless in these machines that are designed to make our lives easier or to go where we do not go.
And what about artificial intelligence? We cannot conceive of robots without artificial intelligence. These devices are equipped with a technology that seeks to act as the human brain would. Artificial intelligence is a combination of algorithms created in order to act similar to how a human brain would and to simulate that machines think for themselves. It depends on the robot in question whether we are talking about AI or not, although the technology is increasingly advancedand this “thought” is more common. But AI is not only designed for these devices but we also find technology in all kinds of areas and fields such as driving, photography, health or even the recommendations made by your streaming platforms, learning from what you have seen, what you have stopped seeing or what you like or not.
Uses and types
There are many uses that we give to a robot in our day to day or many types of these machines that coexist with us and to which we practically do not give importance. As we have explained in previous paragraphs, not every robot has a human or similar shape, but we can consider robots to be machines or robotic arms for industries, for example, or to devices such as Rovers that have been designed to perform missions in space and little or nothing. they look like pepper, Softbank’s humanoid robot that became popular a few years ago around the world.
What types of robot are there? Depending on their function they can be classified into industrial robots, services… For example, robotic arms in an industry that fulfill all kinds of functions or movements such as loading, packing, welding, separating. Or it is increasingly common to find information robots in hotels or in the field of education where they allow to solve doubts and improve learning.
But there are many types that we do not know … For example, Microsoft has a robot capable of cleaning the trash on the beach and collecting cigarette butts.
The most common, as we have explained in the previous paragraph, are industrial robots or space robots. But there are other uses that are already a reality, such as the delivery of packages or food or cooking robots, for example.
Another of the future uses that are already being considered for robots is that they distribute meals or packages. In the United States and with the contactless protocol for the coronavirus pandemic, some logistics companies already have robots that function as a kind of portable refrigerator on wheels. These robots make it possible to lower costs and deliver food, although for the moment they have only been used in educational centers, but surely in the future we will see how they take care of bringing us a pizza in the shortest time possible …
Amazon also wants its own delivery robots that, as of summer 2021, would drive themselves and complete delivery tasks. They would go in a van that upon arrival at the destination would “drop” the robot equipped with a camera and GPS and perform the function. Once delivered, I would go back to the van to continue.
Food and drink
Or Picnic, a robot that has been announced at the International Pizza Expo and conference in Las Vegas and that allows you to make and cook pizzas without the need for an expert pizza maker to direct it. You simply enter the orders and the robot knows which ingredient to add until the pizza is completely cooked.
The company Miso robotics is also working on a robot in charge of making our life in restaurants easier. Robots that dispense measurements automatically but also have a robot capable of making hamburgers …
Laws of robotics
Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published the Three Laws of Robotics in the 1940s. Although technology has changed a lot in these decades, they arose with the intention of counteracting the fear of humans for machines or for that possible rebellion that we have always seen on television. Against this theory that robots can rebel, the Russian writer published these laws …
- First Law: A robot will not harm a human being. Neither by inaction nor will it allow a human being to suffer harm.
- Second law: A robot must comply with the orders given by a human being as long as they do not conflict with the first law (do no harm)
- Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence to the extent that this protection does not conflict with the first or second law.
Beyond the popular Asimov laws, many theorists or experts in the field have talked about artificial intelligence or robotics. For example, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella in an interview in 2016 assured that a series of aspects had to be taken into account when developing robots or artificial intelligences: it must be designed to help humanity, it must be transparent, it must maximize efficiency without distributing dignity , designed for intelligent privacy, with algorithmic responsibility and protected from prejudice in order not to discriminate against people.
Furthermore, the European Parliament itselfor has regulation on Artificial Intelligence and robots. There are different levels for AI or robot providers that are differentiated according to possible risks and with corresponding penalties for infractions or breach of these rules. Penalties that could reach up to thirty million euros if the creators of robots breach them. Beyond Asimov’s theoretical laws, there are real ones and it is the European Committee for Artificial Intelligence that is in charge of enforcing them. “The Committee will make recommendations and opinions to the Commission on high-risk AI systems and on other relevant aspects related to the effective and uniform application of the new rules. It will also help to generate expertise as a center of competence that national authorities will be able to consult. Finally, it will also support standardization activities in this area ”, they explain from their website.
Future of robots
Every day at ADSLZone we collect new robots or robot projects. What is the future? Technology advances day after day allowing unsuspected milestones. For example, at Beihang University in Beijing, a group of researchers has created a technique so that robotic fingers are made of soft materials and can have a sense of touch . Something that could soon be common to make the sensory sense available in robotic hands, for example.
We are also working on robots capable of giving very fast blows “accumulating pressure in the muscles” in the same way as a mantis would. Something that would improve mechanical production and improve robots, for example.
And, of course, the future of robots is to improve the tasks we do at home as well as other interesting tasks such as keeping the elderly company or even helping people with mobility problems dress. Robot vacuum cleaners are already a common reality in many homes and it is expected that their functions will multiply and allow us all kinds of options.
On the future of robots, the creator of the iRobot company, Colin Angle, explained in an interview in Europa Press: “ Robots are good for factual things and not so good when it comes to being conceptual. The robots will be useful to assume missions or positions that are very easy but they are not people ”. What will they take care of? The creator of the famous Roomba vacuum cleaner gave his opinion on the future of these devices and their functions in 2015. His proposal is not, of course, to replace humans but to help make life easier or less busy. How does your vacuum cleaner. “Robots fit that kind of idea: they will be able to clean the house and they will make our lives less busy and give us the opportunity to focus our interests on something else,” he adds.