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In 1954 the first programmable robot was designed by George Devol, but is kept relatively secret to the public. Devol and his engineer Joseph Engelberger created the company Unimation in 1956, it was poised for over five years until the first robot, UNIMATE, was called into the job market. First to take advantage was GM who commissioned their robots to work in one of their factories in New Jersey. In no time the days of picketing factory workers were over. If workers had problems they could easily be replaced by emotionless robots lying in wait. The only reason that the robots had not flooded other work forces was because they were just programmable tools that had to be shackled to a immobile computer, unlike Rosie and Sandy.
No not Rosie Perez and Sandy Koufax, Rosie and Sandy are autonomous robots that are sandblasting corrosion and paint off of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which is an immensely dangerous and tedious task for a regular person, but an awesome display of the capability of man when done by laser guided robots. That is one of many cutting edge autonomous robots already poised in wait, ready to take over the job market doing menial tasks, such as sweeping floors, taking out the trash, preparing lab samples and inspecting hazardous or confined spaces. Over 90,000 robots, worth about 17 billion dollars are said to be joining the workforce between 2013 and 2015 and this is not to mention all the residential robots like the Roomba. While many have already joined in places that most never see them, for example: surgical robots. 80 percent of the US’s prostatectomies are performed by Da Vinci Surgical Systems, because robots lessen the need for invasive surgeries. If a smaller incision is made, recovery time is faster and there is less chance of infections or complications. Though there are countless robots affecting the workplace in various ways, most do not involve human interaction.
Those days are over, after countless hours, researchers have found ways for robots to me more acceptable to the average person. There are five guidelines are to follow. First they need to give the robot a face. People like rounder softer baby-like faces (apparently consumers prefer getting information from children). Second, the voice must be gentle and humanoid, preferably of the same gender. Third, the robot should mimic the users’ body language so as to reassure them. As a fourth guideline researchers believe that unpredictability is a plus, people like surprises and deciphering puzzling actions. The last suggestion is sympathy. Leading the sympathetic charge is Softbank that recently unveiled their newest product; Pepper. Pepper is a four foot tall personal robot that is able to read human voice tones and facial clues to interpret feelings. With all of these robots poised in planning, the next generation is going to see huge evolution in human history. If things play out correctly, the entire job market could be outsourced to mechanical helper robots, as they are poised to take over. This would give humanity the opportunity to take it easy for a change, and create a system of rewards for people who are working to find other means to help mankind.
By Eddie Mejia