Robots have been a part of human imagination for centuries. In fact, the idea had roots dated as far back as ancient China and Europe where inventors dreamt about using automated machines to work for people. Some of the most vivid depiction of automated machines were illustrated brilliantly by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Renaissance. Many of his inventions, like ball bearings are still relevant today.
Programmable Robotics have a more recent history, dating back to 1960 when General Motors bought a robot which was installed in their plant at Trenton, New Jersey to lift hot pieces of metal and stack them up. Since then, the use of robots has advanced by leaps and bounds ranging from flipping burgers to deep space exploration. Robotics utilization in scientific and commercial spheres will continue unabated and is likely to see much improvement in the coming years.
What is less obvious is how robots are going to impact our daily lives. Let’s take the example of the self-driving autonomous car. It is considered a novelty today but IEEE estimates that 75% of all road traffic in 2040 will be attributed to self-driving autonomous cars. The case to point is that robots are an inevitable part of our future. We can very well go into the future where we own machines to make a living and humans will perform jobs of higher value and creative quality. Interaction with robots and deep computing technology will be part and parcel of all high value jobs, while predictive and routine jobs are sure to be replaced by robots equipped with deep computing power coupled with Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and Machine Learning Capability. In such cases, methodical white collar jobs such as legal administration and financial analysis are not exempted.
“This begs the question of whether the children of today are prepared for this future.”
The answer is probably not. There is a major deficit in the understanding of robotics, even among adults. This is made worse with distortions introduced by Hollywood in their portrayal of robots as the cause of apocalyptic events that bring about the demise of our world, causing unnecessary fear and apprehension to Robots and AI Technology. The fact of the matter is Robots will do what you ask of it and do so as effectively as you like it to be. That is as far as it can go in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, it is important that children understands the foundation of how a robot works rather than looking at it as a mysterious black box. Children should understand that the soul and life of robots come from them and robots can be as good as what they make of them. In fact, there are many advantages of learning robotics at an early age. It can impart life skills, such as creativity and problem solving. Such learning also satisfies their curiosity and build their interest in making things work, fostering the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. More importantly, understanding robotics at an early age will future proof your child and let your child know that science and technology is nothing to be afraid of but something to be embraced, explored and made to work to their advantage.
Many parents will want their children to grow up to lead healthy, fulfilling and happy lives. Maybe they will grow up to do important things for society in future. Let it start with learning Robotics today.
by Yong Yang See Tho