Expected Advances in Robotics Over the Next Five Years

While robots may seem like the stuff of science fiction, the industry is evolving faster than you might think. In fact, by 2020, China alone is predicted to invest at least $70 billion USD on Artificial Intelligence (AI). From industrial automation to consumer electronics, robots are beginning to transform every aspect of modern living. As robot technology continues to advance, analysts have predicted a number of ways the world will evolve under its influence over the next five years. Here are only some of the many new changes we’re likely to see.

Smarter Robots

Consumers have been inundated with “smart” products for a few years now, from the Roomba robot vacuums to home monitoring systems. While smart products may strike you as a passing fad doomed for obsolescence, automation has been well underway in the manufacturing world for many years now. For instance, today’s smart robots are capable of capturing mass amounts of data from cloud services and pulling it into an analytics engine, thus streamlining and transforming the manufacturing process.

Smart robot technology is transforming other areas as well, spilling over into commercial sectors as improved mobility begins to allow robots to take on service roles such as security and in-store fulfillment. As robots become smarter and more adept at navigating the world around them, they’ll be able to interact with humans on a more regular basis, streamlining their adaptation to non-industrial environments.

Robots and AI in White-Collar Jobs

Automation has often been cited as a key cause of blue-collar job loss, but as robot technology continues to progress, it will also begin to impact white-collar jobs, with both AI and robots performing a variety of different office tasks that are repetitive in nature. Though it’s hard to tell how pervasive the impact of automation will be on white-collar jobs, it has already paved the way for the creation of new jobs that focus on robotics as a field in itself. Given this is the case, it’s no surprise that there is an increasing demand for robotics courses at the post-secondary level, as seen by the number of online technology courses that focus their curriculum on this field. Already, skilled robotics technicians, engineers and managers are in high demand due to the current scarcity of people with the right knowledge and training.

Robots as a Service

Service-based business models such as SaaS (Software as a Service) have been around for a while, thanks to the development of cloud computing and cloud storage amongst other developments. Now, with the explosive growth of robotic technology upon us, a new “Robots as a Service” (RaaS) model is beginning to emerge as suppliers begin to rethink how to expand and thrive in this new age of automation. Just like other service-based models, RaaS will lower the entry barrier both financially and technically for smaller businesses looking to jump in on the robotics revolution.

By providing businesses with a relatively simple, low-cost way to adopt robotics into their operations on demand, RaaS will have a significant impact on a company’s ability to pivot and scale. This is because the service provider will likely take on costly tasks that might otherwise prevent smaller businesses from adopting robots in the first place, such as maintenance, repairs and upgrades. RaaS providers will also likely offer data insights based on the robots’ use to their customers, as is typical of other service models. While RaaS has yet to reach broader audiences like SaaS or even IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), it’s highly probable that this is a trend worth watching.

While robots have largely been relegated to pop culture over the last few decades, the real world has now caught up and has even surpassed some of our most fantastical collective imaginings. Many iterations are already here, and with more to come, their impact is sure to be widespread. With change imminent, it’s more important than ever to keep your skills sharps and to invest in your knowledge.