Robots and Automation

They are already amongst us.

Types and uses

Lovelock's Novacene era of cyborgs may come about but until then ...

The variety and uses of robots are expanding rapidly but they generally come in two variations, static and mobile. Both types have their pluses and minuses. Static ones can be much more powerful and have a constant supply of power and are ideal for manufacturing jobs but not for crossing the road. Mobile ones are limited by what they can carry, which includes a power pack and a method of getting data and updates from a distant source. This disadvantage may be mitigated by redox flow batteries or similar.They are useful for remote tasks such as surveillance and flying around airports, apparently.

Cuddly Robots

Health care for the elderly and children education are widely viewed as a future niche for the automation sector. Many countries have a generation emergency and the development of synthetic help in these area will become more and more desirable, Japan is one of the countries with a large young to old divide and is actively introducing soft robots to care for and comfort to geriatic residents. It is simply not enough to have an efficient helper but it must also be human like in looks and manner. The characteristics such as large eyes, smiling features and a soft voice are as important as the services they provide. The ideal robot would be made of Flow Steel as in the Terminator but would be most likely made of Flow Wool.

Nano Robots

This is an emerging technology but may be usurped by the use of viruses or bacteria. The scale of the robot is in the ten to the minus ninth power and may be unfeasible or uneconomic to produce. CRISPR and other enzyme based organic vehicles are very efficent and use evolutionary devised mechanisms that are understood (mostly) and are a natural fit for our genome. Of course there maybe unnatural or militaristic needs that favour the artificial approach. Many people would not be happy for robots to be coursing around their blood system but you never know. The NRs might be useful in hazardous areas to neutralise dangerous or alien areas.

Robots for fun and profit

Robots are generally thought of as mechanical/electrical machine. Although there are many and varied units already in existence, there will be a lot more to come. They can be autonomous or semi autonomous but the distinction culturally may be if they do or not look like humans. Two legged ambulation is quite rare in the animal world and most will be four legged or more. This gives greater stability and traversing capability. Culturally there may be a reaction against robots that resemble us or perhaps they will be desired as companions or more malleable entities. They will also be useful to enter environments that are human orientated.