One day will robots rule the world?
By Samantha Siomko, Staff Writer
“Maybe,” says Toshio Fukuda, robotics expert from Japan’s Nagoya University. “In 30 or 40 years. But I’m not worried. I won’t still be alive.”
His comment was made in light of the World Robot Conference held in China last week. The conference, held from November 21 to 25, featured robots that danced, played badminton, and rang bells, probably not the types of robots that would take over the world. The conference’s focus: display some of the advances in robotics accomplished by Chinese scientists in recent years and show that China has what it takes to compete in the global robot market.
However, the true moneymakers, and what consumers really want, are service robots. Head of Horizon Robotics, Yu Kai, says that there could be upwards of 10 robots in each Chinese household in the future. These may not be the humanoid robots seen in iRobot or Terminator. Devices with artificial intelligence capabilities, such as Siri or Roombas, can be considered robots as well. Though they might not look as cute, devices with enhanced artificial intelligence could help people do everything from cooking perfect eggs to diagnosing a medical issue more accurately.
Critics claim that China still has a ways to go until they catch up with Japan and Korea, who are the top dogs in robotics at the moment. But, the World Robot Conference shows that they have made great bounds in their robotic potential. They even held the World Adolescent Robot Competition to encourage future robotic engineers from both China and around the globe to pursue the trade.
The world’s fascination in robots is apparent, what with the success of recent movie characters such as Baymax from Big Hero Six or Wall-E from his titular movie, and such a fascination will keep manufacturers intent on producing bigger and better “jiqiren,” or “machine people” in Chinese. And, as long as these robots focus their time on working on their rock-paper-scissor skills, no one has to worry about robotic world domination just yet.