We have seen robots working alongside humans in so many movies. We also dream that someday such human companion robots will come into the market. These robots will not only assist us in the day to day activities but be a great companion as well. Talking about robots, remember W.A.L.L.E, the little adorable robot that emerged as the last hope for human civilization. How Much Human are Humanoid Robots?
Many of us grew up watching the incredible potential of robots in movies and television. Robots showed us the brightest of the future. However, we haven't really seen the true potential of robotic technology being unleashed. While the popular TV cartoon show, Jetsons from the 60's showed us the infinite possibilities of humans and robots co-existing, movies like the Terminator or Wall-E scared us by showing the prospective dark side of Artificial Intelligence and technology. But the age where robots finally coexist with human beings is not really far.
The publication of Federico Pistono's book, Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK, back in 2012 spawned a thousand think pieces, news headlines, and debates over what the future of robotics means for humans and the workplace. At a recent Future of Ageing Conference held by the think tank International Longevity Centre (ILC) in London, the topic was once again up for debate. Whilst the consensus is that the robots are coming, in fact many argue they're already here, Caroline Waters, vice chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and vice president of Carers UK, made an interesting point in regards to the robotic effect on the labour market. "We're conflating robots and AI with industry," said Waters. "Actually we're more likely to use domestic robots."
When most people think of robots, they either think of hulking Terminators or the dumb industrial varieties taking part in a future robot uprising. But there's another class of robot that's also gaining traction – social robots that cost less than £650 and are designed for the home. They are more WALL-E than Terminator, and are meant to be personal companions and even "one of the family". For all the stories about the perils of artificial intelligence, these machines are strangely disarming. First of all, some of them – such as the new Buddy companion robot from French firm Blue Frog Robotics – look like they've had a cartoon smiley face painted on them.
Earlier this year, Japanese company Softbank brought the world Pepper, a humanoid robot that has sold out in a minute each time it's gone on sale. Now, MJI Robotics, another Japanese robotics firm, is introducing a smaller, more accessible companion. Demonstrated at this year's International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, the MJI (More Joyful Innovation) Communication Robot is an egg-shaped desktop device that communicates through a 5-inch screen. The screen shows the companion's emotive eyes as a default, but also serves as a display for photos, weather, news and other information. Set for a release of early 2016, the MJI Robot also has built-in telephone functionality.