Humanoid robots are currently being taught to successfully pull off a range of trade tasks, including painting, plastering, electrical work, and even building entire houses.
One of the biggest robotic trends to emerge over the past year has been new ‘innovations’ in the application of machines to the construction industry.
A variety of codes are currently being programmed to next-generation AI-driven robots with a goal of having them achieve tasks on the worksite — not just simple factory sorting as we have currently.
No, they want these robots to become commercialised for construction and trade, and the leader of the pack is (of course) Boston Dynamic’s ‘Atlas’ which generates tens of millions of views on YouTube.
‘Atlas’ can be seen in the following video assisting a worker who left his tools on the ground-level, taking the bag up to the man by identifying the object, and creating pathways for itself to get up and down:
Boston Dynamics is a heavy player in the military-industrial-complex, and as far as I’ve seen, they routinely have the ‘smoothest’ performing robots — as demonstrated by that video.
Private science companies are also working on the race to commercialise robots for trade as well.
Although not as smooth, the ‘HRP-5P humanoid robot’ from Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute can perform common construction tasks including installing a drywall:
Although this may seem comical now, especially to those reading who are tradies, I believe we shouldn’t take this so lightly. These videos are the robots in their infancy stage, and they will get better.
We are essentially human parents observing baby AI robots learn to move, which is quite the thought.
These ‘babies’ are using complex object detection and motion planning to perform these various tasks.
“By utilizing HRP-5P as a development platform of industry-academia collaboration, it is expected that research and development for practical use of humanoid robots in building construction sites and assembly of large structures such as aircraft and ships will be accelerated,” writes the creators.
Next, for all you painters out there, autonomous robots are currently also being tested in the field, using computer modelling of various rooms to map outs its task, as seen in this video by Just Right Robotics:
Electricians may also need to keep an eye out, with Canada’s Sanctuary AI developing robots that can do tasks that require more complex skill and concentration, including soldering of wires (as seen below):
It’s not just the big tasks, either. Sanctuary AI’s robot is also learning how to do basic sorting of parts, including plastics, nuts and bolts, as well as packing and unpacking toolboxes.
Robots have already completely built houses from scratch in specific test cases, including acting as a crane for the frameworks to be assembled and bricks being placed down.
The researchers of all of these projects see the robot “as a replacement for an aging population” and “a declining birth rate”, with many industries expected to fall into serious manual shortages in the future.
With younger generations raised to pursue a career on TikTok or YouTube beyond learning practical trades, and those that do barely able to communicate or do simple tasks due to their technological somatisation from a young age, the robots will be rolled out as the ‘solution’ to these woes.
From physical labour, to advising high-level CEOs, the next few decades are set to be a wild time.
The past decade has seen a rapid development of artificial intelligence, and over the next decade, that trend is set to continue. Scientists, coders and citizens everywhere are using AI in ways like never before.
Our good friend Bill Gates predicts that every person will soon have a robotic “agent” ‘working by their side’, with the advancements to become so strong that most will adapt or fall behind.
This, on the consumer and business end of things, and also on the personal side of things as well.
Robotic personal assistants have been promoted through science fiction for decades, painting a blissful future where humans are surrounded by friendly machines that improve every aspect of our lives.
But willthe reality all these years later be as ‘sweet’ as it sounds?
In the future, almost all industries are predicted to adopt new sophisticated ‘AI advisors’ to execute important functions of society — which they call the ‘obsolescence regime’ that will hit by 2030.
Even our law enforcement officers have start to have blends of humanoids spread throughout them, as witnessed by the rollout of one in Dubai recently to assist with tickets and surveillance.
DARPA, and their partners like Boston Dynamics, have released videos of army combatants that can scale terrain, track targets and support soldiers:
All of this is coming, and it has been coming very fast. And, much like we used to laugh at AI’s art generation or electric vehicles.. they will improve, be scaled, and rolled out to society.
Australia is right in the thick of this transition, teaming up with Microsoft in October for a massive $5 billion deal for Australia’s artificial intelligence future.
A recent Tech Council of Australia report found generative AI could make an economic contribution of up to $115 billion by 2030, and everyone is looking to cash in on the trends.
Don’t put it past tradies to also look to cash in on these robots in the future, once it becomes economically viable for an industry that has already been smashed by COVID-era tyranny.
Let’s just hope we all collectively ‘discipline’ our babies to be helpers, not our overlords and replacers.