Robots are beginning to move around in the world and perform tasks as humans do, The New York Times reports.
Until recently, most robots were carefully separated from humans. They have largely been used in factories to perform repetitive tasks that required speed, precision and force. That generation of robots is dangerous, and they have been caged and fenced for the protection of workers.
But the industrial era of robotics is over. And robots are beginning to move around in the world.
More and more, they are also beginning to imitate — and look like — humans. And they are beginning to perform tasks as humans do, too.
Today’s robot designers believe that their creations will become therapists, caregivers, guides and security guards, and will ultimately perform virtually any form of human labor.
The key to this advance is the new robots’ form. Roboticists say they are choosing the human form for both social and technical reasons. Robots that operate indoors, in particular, must be able to navigate a world full of handles, switches, levers and doors that have been designed for humans. …
Roboticists also point out that humans have an affinity for their own shape, easing transitions and making collaboration more natural. Creating robots in humanoid form also simplifies training and partnerships in the workplace, and increases their potential in new applications like caregiving.