jueves, 10 de abril de 2008

The robotic age

The robotic age is coming, they already exist in some industries, for instance the automobile industry uses robots and there are many examples. The big issue comes when we think about robots with artificial intelligence (AI) and that’s a real fact. The question could be, are we ready to live with them?.

‘A draft of the proposals said: "In the 21st Century humanity will coexist with the first alien intelligence we have ever come into contact with - robots. …"It will be an event rich in ethical, social and economic problems."‘ [1] For that reason the South Korean government is taking the first step by writing an ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa (Korean Robot Ethics Charter).

Some facts about robotic right now: Japan has 28% of the world market, USA 22%, Germany 18%, Italy 11%, South Korea 3% and 10% others. There are three categories: (1) Home/Service; (2) Silver/Life Care and (3) Security/Military. Now in (1) we have robots for cleaning like vacuum cleaning, pets (robots like dogs) for education and entertainment, in the next decade (2010 – 2015) (1) robots will coexist with humans. About (2) now exists ChairBot, RideBot, Silverbor and Subar for example, next decade will have robots that could give assisting to senior citizens for instance. There are three main trend of robot-developing technologies in Korea, first are the Humanoid/Android the goal is create a robot like the Bicentennial Man; second are the network robots like R2D2 (star wars) that could help in many activities; and third are the Nano/High-precision like the ones that work in the automobile industry or laboratories, the next step are the cooperatives that could make intelligent works for instance in the automobile industry. [2]

So why Korea is doing all this research, because “Korea will be able to serve as a test bed country for robots, just as with the IT electronics market”. [2] Another interesting fact is: “It is estimated that every household in Korea will have one robot by 2020” [2], so we are talking about millions of robots to sell, very lucrative business!!. “Why Korea wants to establish the robot ethics charter...Korea is headed towards an aging society with low birth rates: one possible solution is the use of robots. Various intelligent service robots, including robots to assist senior citizens, have been developed: ’Silver Mate’ robots will soon be seen. Social demand for robots is forecasted to increase…The social demand has created a need to enhance partnership between people and robots, and a need to consider ethical issues in Korea”.[2]



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