Are robots taking over the world?!
It’s a question which we often hear within the topic of artificial intelligence. But is this something which we should greet with fear or, like many electronic appliances, could robots become conventionalised as aids within the day to day running of our lives?
Already, robots are becoming increasingly integrated into modern life, not only providing entertainment but improving communication, well-being and logistical organisation within various fields of society. Robots are now carers, receptionists, entertainers and sales assistants, as well as being integrated into schools to teach children and aid with assisted reading.
Robots offer the perfect antidote for loneliness and social isolation within the aged community. A humanoid robot is friendly, helpful, unbiased and, most importantly, able to provide constant companionship within care homes and hospices. Existing robots which are particularly well suited to this environment include Pepper, PARO and NAO, as they recognise individuals and can be programmed to reach specific requirements based on individual or group needs; thus, creating a personable humanoid robot who will promptly integrate as part of a close elderly community.
Each of these robots have been created with the appropriate qualities and capabilities of a companion. As the most advanced of the three examples, Pepper is able to detect emotion and adapt its answers appropriately, making him perfect for comforting individuals; this is made possible through an ‘emotion engine’, meaning that Pepper really does have a heart! Other applications include a touch screen tablet which provides written answers useful for those hard of hearing, sensors which allow Pepper to detect surrounding individuals and objects, permitting him to adapt quickly to new environments and mitigating collision, and access to the internet, providing individuals with the opportunity to contact friends and family, forming further outlet for communication and social interaction. These functions are also suited to various other working roles including receptionist and sales assistant, as they encourage a client to feel at ease.
Robots as Educational Tools
Robots are a new, different and exciting way to learn, especially for children. They encourage participation and interaction both with the robot and others, they are able to repeat themselves without mistakes and they prepare infants for life within a society which relies so heavily upon technology.
Though versatile, the Sanbot robot proves better suited to a younger audience as it is shorter, stronger, and itself more childlike. Sanbot is currently in development as an educational tool; used as a projector for presentations, as well as storing apps which promote Literacy, Mathematics and guided reading.
Aesthetically, teaching robots are often smaller, to appear less intimidating and therefore more approachable to children both with and without learning difficulties. It has been shown that they work well with, and can also be programmed specifically for students on the autistic spectrum as well as decreasing anxiety by gaining a child's trust. As an assistant, Nao robot can be used to store and communicate information about an individual's educational progress between teachers, whilst maintaining a child's interest with stimulating entertainment features.
Whilst robots are not only useful for child development, humanoid robots are also able to answer questions using an AI ChatBot which responds autonomously to general conversation! Humanoid robots are also able to collect data and feedback and supply accurate live information on anything from the weather to the time or even houses that are available for sale within a particular area; they can even give directions, give out live flight information - in fact, almost anything....
Their expanding language database makes them increasingly accessible and beneficial across the globe.
It could be perceived that robots are, and indeed will monopolise our society and find their way into our interpersonal, educational and professional lives. However, this should not be seen as a negative as viewed by some. It is a misconception that robots are here to replace us. They are here to improve our overall quality of life - from early education through to our working lives and as a companion in later life. One thing is for sure.....the robots are coming!!
For further information regarding regarding any of the robots mentioned above please visit:
Pepper - www.robotsoflondon.co.uk
Paro - www.parorobots.com
NAO - www.robotsoflondon.co.uk