But is there such thing as too much technology? And will robots ultimately be a great help to mankind or could they end up enslaving us all, in some form of dystopian Orwellian future? Sputnik spoke with Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Director of the Centre for Robotics at the University of Edinburgh for more insight on the issue.
Sputnik: What have been the most notable developments in robotics over the past year?
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar: I think the application of taking the robotics research from our labs, to looking at various application domains like warehousing, like autonomous driving cars and really the maturing of the technology, have been the highlights for me.
For me; the idea of getting robots to move from factories and laboratories, to real world applications has really been the highlight of the last year.
Sputnik: Will further developments in robotics serve to help mankind, or could they potentially erode the rights of workers?
I think of AI and robotics as a way of using additional tools to improve the way we do things, and that’s on one hand. On the other hand; these are enablers for doing things that we were not able to do before, so inaccessible elements like mining under the ocean, on meteors, or doing the kind of surgical interventions in the human body that were previously not feasible and also things like in a nuclear power plant.
At the moment we are kind of postponing the eventual problem of cleaning up and dealing with our nuclear waste in a proper manner, so I think that robotics and AI is enabling us to do this and lots of added capabilities, rather than replacing jobs.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Sethu Vijayakumar and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.