It is possible that some day in the future, it is common to see lifelike robots similar to Ex Machina’s Ava walking in the city, behaving in the same ways as humans do. Although it is too soon to expect for the appearance of robot like Ava, it is undeniable that the robot invasion has already started.
A humanoid robot named Ava with artificial intelligence in Ex Machina film
According to a recent report from British market research firm Juniper Research, at the moment, approximately 1 in 25 households in the United States are currently home to at least one robot. However, it is expected that in the next five years, that figure will catapult to 1 in 10, in other words, one in ten American households will own a consumer robot by the year 2020.
The report indicated that the future robot generation might not possess the same appearance as human being, however, they are designed to be better at performing a particular task. The research firm Juniper Research described its future version of a robot as an “autonomous, mobile electromechanical machine, capable of being programmed and re-programmed, that is used in the home or has non-commercial applications. It should be able to perceive its environment to some extent and react to it.”
Certainly, in the next five years, we’re not prepared to live with a Rosie the robot, like the one on The Jetsons, who are able to support us to prepare for meals, do housework or help us to drive. The first robot entering our home, according to the research firm, is predicted to be task oriented, handling simple household chores such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming.
Consequently, those robots will usually be used as butlers or guides at some hotels and businesses. In addition, many people will take those electro-mechanical machine to their home for daily tasks.
At present, task-oriented robots like iRobot’s Roomba are considered as the most widely owned robots in America, however, companies have made experiments with humanoid robots that interact with people. Softbank’s Pepper robot, which was first unveiled about a year and a half ago in Japan, could be the most popular example of late. However Juniper suggests that there are three main barriers that stand between us and more capable robots.
The first one is technology. Clearly, if we want to get significant achievements on artificial intelligence, we need more powerful computers, more efficient components and better cloud-based computing solutions. Moreover, the reports also indicated that high cost might be the second big barrier and the last factor could be trust.
“The state of consumer robotics could be compared to the PC in the late 70s” Juniper’s research author Steffen Sorrell said. “Venture capitalist and corporate investment has ramped up tremendously recently – they know that this is the start of a paradigm shift in the way we use and interact with machines.”
Robotics is forecasted to be a big industry and could be worth $153 billion by 2020, according to research by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. But their march comes amid warnings from the likes of Tesla boss Elon Musk to author Stephen Hawking who caution against the risks they pose.