Guest Post by Kristine Spure, content creator for Truesix.co, TV producer, and music manager.
With drones delivering pizza to our doorstep and robots replacing doctors in the examination room, the realization finally kicks in: we’ve made it to the high-tech future that sci-fi movies used to tell us about.
These days, technologies and advanced robotic solutions are having a major impact on industries all around.
We can see the change in manufacturing, where automation is swiftly altering traditional production relationship among suppliers, producers, and customers, paving the way for the so-called smart factories and the fourth industrial revolution – or Industry 4.0.
We see it in the tremendous development of space technology which promises a growing number of lunar missions in the not too distant future, making the thought of human outposts on the Moon no longer a utopian idea.
All this change might seem exciting at first, but it raises the ever-important question: are we truly ready for these profound cultural, economic, and operational shifts technologies are about to bring upon us? Are we prepared to share the stage with robots and machines alike?
A Fear of Robots
A new study reveals that we might not be after all. 300 US senior executives were surveyed to reveal that company leaders are overwhelmed by the volume of data and technologies their companies have access to and struggle to understand what to do with it.
Similarly, more than 70% of Americans expressed wariness about a world where machines perform tasks usually done by humans, citing a lack of trust and an unwillingness to allow control to a machine in a potential life-or-death situation.
Even the late Stephen Hawking frequently spoke about his fears surrounding advancements in robotics and AI technologies, believing that AI would eventually become so advanced that it would replace all human life.
Despite our worries, robots and AI are an inevitable part of our future. The challenge is – how do we adapt to it?
Learning to Speak “Tech”
While there isn’t one single answer, knowledge and education is definitely the key. The more familiar we become with the innovations that are happening around us, the more secure we’ll feel about incorporating them into our daily lives.
One of the people to support this in their practices is Taizon Son, a technology guru and the youngest brother of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. As the chief executive of Japanese startup studio Mistletoe, Taizon puts his trust in technology by backing what he calls “world-changing” startups in deep tech, AI, and robotics. Since the launch of Mistletoe, Son has invested $150 million into approximately 80 startups, supporting entrepreneurs in more than 10 countries.
But what’s more – he’s been working on revamping education by creating a self-directed tech hub for children. Son calls it a new learning environment where software experts act as mentors, allowing children to experiment with 3D printers, laser cutters, and computers, inventing their own robots.
However, it’s not only kids, but the public in general that needs to be better informed. To start the discussion within the society as a whole, plenty of international events and conferences focus on applied robotics and the future of tech. Just recently, Robotex, the global robotics education network, held their first festival in China and will be organizing the world’s largest robotics festival Robotex International 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia during which Taizon Son will be speaking on how to improve education for the future.
As Sander Gansen, Chairman of Robotex reveals, “the conference’s overall topic for this year is Generation R that reflects our belief that the day when robots, cyborgs, avatars and other mechanical systems will live beside humans is not that far. Our job is to make sure that the public learns about these future technologies, the executives know how to use them, and the policymakers understand them better.”
The bottom line is – robotics, automation, AI, and other innovative solutions are going to play a very integral role in developing the public and private sector, not to mention education. And it’s important to become involved in the change right now to maximize the benefits for our technological future.