Non-Obvious Trends

Non-ObviousTM Trends

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Robot Renaissance

As robots’ utility moves into the home and the workplace, they adopt more human-like interfaces and in some cases, micro-personalities.


About This Trend:

A second renaissance may be approaching, and if it does, robots will play a significant role in it. As the pace of change is accelerated thanks to technology, one consistent theme that arises is the use of robots for everything from manufacturing, retail, and senior care to exploring the uncharted regions of the ocean. Now, we are figuring out how we want to interact with robots, how humanlike we’d like them to be, and what sort of ethical rules are necessary to govern the master-servant relationship between robots and humans.

Take space and ocean exploration, for example. In late 2016, Boeing started to test its new Unmanned Undersea Vehicle, a 51-foot-long hybrid craft with a 7500-mile range that can stay underwater for up to six months, and works autonomously, without a crew, to provide maritime surveillance. NASA is already using a series of autonomous robots to collect samples and research from Mars, and the future of space exploration will surely depend on robots that can explore far further than humans. Now our widened understanding of what robots can do is helping us imagine new places for them in our everyday lives.

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