What is the next frontier of AI and robotics?
From human-centered design to robotic imagination, discover the ideas and innovations driving AI and robotics today.
At WGSN, we’ve been watching the growth opportunities and added value that AI and robotics can enable in people’s lives, both at home and in the workplace. While significant growth has been made, what further breakthroughs do we need to spur true mass adoption?
Here’s a look at the key trends and where the industry is headed:
While computers have been around since the 1930s, they didn’t become accessible until 50 years later with the advent of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), starting the multi-trillion dollar industry we know today. Similarly, focusing on the usability of AI and robotics technology is key to driving adoption.
In industrial contexts, increasing emphasis is placed on user-friendly robots that do not require a high level of expertise to operate. Software companies like Canada-based Omnirobotic are tackling this problem with its platform that makes it easy to set up autonomous robotic applications with minimal positioning and little to no manual programming. Meanwhile, US-based Ready Robotics’ Forge/OS platform integrates with hundreds of industrial robot brands and lets operators control them with a simple flowchart-style visual programming interface.
The use of these technologies is increasing; Gartner predicts global artificial intelligence software revenue will grow 21.3% in 2022 to a $62.5 billion market.
General Intelligence Robots
Current machine learning technologies are used to teach robots specific tasks, but they are rigid and do not handle variation well. For a future where smart robots can handle more work, robots need an understanding of environment and context.
“Lifestyle robots must be able to augment human ability and potential, to explore, evaluate, experiment and extend what it already knows when we encounter an unknown problem,” said Oliver Tian, Vice President at Global Robot Clusters.
At AIBotics 2022, a conference on the adoption of AI in robotics, researchers from the National University of Singapore and Johns Hopkins University showcased a new framework that helps robots understand the affordances of things instead of how it seems They successfully taught robots what a chair’s purpose is (seat affordability) and how to prepare a chair for a person to sit comfortably on. With ‘robot imagination’, this method could make household robots smarter and better at solving problems autonomously.
Robots for aging populations
Many societies worldwide are facing a rapidly aging population, raising concerns about slowing economic growth and social issues such as mobility and social participation. Some governments are looking to technology to combat these issues, working with private companies and academics to redesign cities and societies of the future.
Japan’s Society 5.0 vision aims to tackle its aging population issue by digitizing its entire society, using remote technologies to enable its population to work longer while leaving routine work to AI become In Susono, the government is working with Japanese carmaker Toyota on Woven City, an experimental city that houses 360 residents, most of whom are elderly. The project will test automated mobility innovations and smart home developments, including an underground parcel delivery and garbage disposal system.
AI and robotics trends will affect how we work, play and learn in the future. WGSN subscribers can check out our Key Trend: Artificial Intelligence at Work report to learn more about the near-term impacts of this revolution.