Over the last few decades, globalization has created great wealth and brought millions out of poverty. Today, a combination of technology, politics, and social pressures seems to be reversing globalization. While the new technology will continue to create wealth, it will favor developed countries. The increasing regionalization of economies and differences in rates of growth will create instability and challenge international security arrangements. The Economist defines globalization as the "global integration of the movement of goods, capital and jobs." The combination of labor cost advantages, efficient freight systems, and trade agreements fueled globalization by providing regional cost advantages for manufacturing. Over the last six decades, it transformed agricultural societies into industrial powerhouses.
Technological revolutions have long animated economic history. The concept of "creative destruction"--in which technological advancement destroys certain sectors of the economy while giving rise to new ones--has roots in some of the earliest economic thought.1 This process hinges on the idea that machines serve to supplement human labor, primarily labor dedicated to repetitive physical and cognitive tasks. At the moment, machines can solve intensive well-defined tasks but for the most part cannot be expected to define problems nor identify and traverse particularly complex systems without human oversight. Robots: A Retrospective The most primitive economies are essentially brawn-based. Human labor is largely priced by the ability to perform physical tasks associated with farming and building. A number of studies (e.g., Thomas and Strauss, 1997) show how in modern-day less-developed economies, men make more than woman as a function of body mass and thus perceived brawn, and that men with more brawn made more than those with less.
Robotics is said to be the next technological revolution. Many seem to agree that robots will have a tremendous impact over the following years, and some are heavily betting on it. Companies are investing billions buying other companies, and public authorities are discussing legal frameworks to enable a coherent growth of robotics. Understanding where the field of robotics is heading is more than mere guesswork. While much public concern focuses on the potential societal issues that will arise with the advent of robots, in this article, we present a review of some of the most relevant milestones that happened in robotics over the last decades.
CEO: Yoshihito Yamada) announced that it will release two variations of the Mobile Robot LD Platform, developed for indoor use by its U.S. subsidiary Omron Adept Technologies (hereafter: OAT), simultaneously in 33 countries on January 20, 2017 as a step towards realizing harmony between humans and machines in the field of manufacturing. The Mobile Robot LD is a carrier robot equipped with OAT's proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which allows it to transport materials to a target location while calculating the optimal route and avoiding humans and obstacles. The robots are ideally suited for a wide range of indoor environments, including facilities manufacturing car parts, electronics, foods and pharmaceuticals, as well as warehouses and research facilities. The January release will include two variations; a customizable OEM type and an all-in-one cart transporter type with an attached cart. The OEM type allows the user to optimize the robot for the intended usage environment by attaching a custom cabinet or conveyor.
Inside a large, windowless room in an electronics factory in south Shanghai, about 15 workers are eyeing a small robot arm with frustration. Near the end of the production line where optical networking equipment is being packed into boxes for shipping, the robot sits motionless. "The system is down," explains Nie Juan, a woman in her early 20s who is responsible for quality control. Her team has been testing the robot for the past week. The machine is meant to place stickers on the boxes containing new routers, and it seemed to have mastered the task quite nicely. But then it suddenly stopped working.