Robotics will drive untold benefits for humanity. But as we pursue the future, we can’t forget our very real present needs
Robotics are beginning to transform a broad spectrum of industries. But what’s far more exciting is the potential for robotics and AI to drive innovation that alleviates human suffering of many kinds, both directly and indirectly. While we’re excited about the application to autonomous vehicles or manufacturing, what’s potentially more inspiring is the opportunity to scale and dramatically improve disaster relief efforts.
Humanitarian efforts, the world over, will be greatly advanced by the development of these emerging technologies. While we focus on conquering the impossible and transforming the way things work, it is also our imperative to capitalize on the opportunity to create a better society.
Cheap distribution already changed the world once. It most likely will happen again.
In the late 1990s, my father became a thief.
He would stay up late into the night in his office upstairs, his desk perched where my bed used to be. The green glow of the CRT reflecting off his forehead in the dark, he would sit nearly motionless, hour after hour watching the progress bar fill as he pirated old radio shows, books on tape, and music from the golden age of rock and roll.
Back in the early 1990s, it was not obvious that the internet would launch a global army of greying men into the world’s most tedious crime spree. It was not obvious college students and housewives and kids obsessed with Jamiroquai would join them to take down the record industry. And journalism. And video stores, encyclopedias, and travel agents.
In late post-revolutionary France one man was tasked to map out the country. Gaspard de Prony, a mathematician and engineer, decided to approach the task by creating logarithmic and trigonometric tables. These tables, which would come to be known as Tables of de Prony, were destined to speed up the trigonometric calculations needed to complete these cartographic task.
This may come as a shocker to many, but in the next few years, the peer-based sharing/collaborative economy will shift to automation.
I’ve studied this market closely and want to make some clear predictions on where things will head. Four years ago, I mapped out the Collaborative Economy, which is the phase where humans get what they need from each other (peer-to-peer commerce). In the next phase, the Autonomous World, robots will augment and replace humans, and they will serve humans. In some cases, robots will serve other robots as we advance further.