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For many years we have seen science fiction and looked to a future in which robots are intelligent and performing a number of tasks that we could imagine to be performed only by humans. The Terminator, The Matrix, Blade Runner and I, Robot are all good examples of this vision.

Until few years back, consideration of what this might actually mean in the future was unnecessary because it was all science fiction, not scientific reality. Now, however, science has not only turned the fiction into reality but it has also introduced practicalities that were not even thinkable till the last decade.

The Robotic Language

The robots have landed in a variety of workplaces, expanding skills, moving up the corporate ladder, showing awesome productivity and retention rates, and increasingly shoving aside their human counterparts. One multi-tasker bot, from Momentum Machines, can make (and flip) a gourmet hamburger in 10 seconds and could soon replace an entire McDonalds crew. A manufacturing device from Universal Robots doesn’t just solder, paint, screw, glue, and grasp—it builds new parts for itself on the fly when they wear out or bust. And recently, Google won a patent to start building worker robots with personalities.

As intelligent machines begin their march on labour and become more sophisticated and specialized than first-generation cousins like Roomba or Siri, they have an outspoken champion in their corner: author and entrepreneur Martin Ford. In his new book, Rise of the Robots, he argues that AI and robotics will soon overhaul our economy.

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Rise of the Robots

Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades. And if even half that number is closer to the mark, workers are in for a rude awakening.

Manufacturing of drones, which has numerous applications, is an important segment of Robotics. A leading quadcopter maker, DJI, is refining their drones for crop spraying, industrial surveying and high-end filmmaking. The market for drone hardware will hit US $ 6 Billion this year and the market for software and services will grow even faster. This is one of the areas where engineers and software developers will find new job opportunities.

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The structure of a DRONE

In Ford’s vision, a full-on worker revolt is on the horizon, followed by a radically new economic state whereby humans will live more productive and entrepreneurial lives, subsisting on guaranteed income generated by our amazing machines.

WHAT IS AI?

From SIRI to self-driving cars, artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly. While science fiction often portrays AI as robots with human-like characteristics, AI can encompass anything from Google’s search algorithms to IBM’s Watson to autonomous weapons.

Written by Prof V. B. Aggarwal and Prof. Deepshikha Aggarwal

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