Add to My MSN

Bring Your Robot to Work

1/10/2011 2:28:34 PM

Tags: telepresence robots, science and technology, Technology Review, Will Wlizlo

anybotsRobots have been a presence in the modern workplace for decades, but soon your average nine-to-fiver may not just be working alongside automatons, reports Technology Review (February 2011). People might be working for them.

This isn’t just a paranoid, hyperbolic prophecy of the Matrix-esque dystopian future. (Admittedly, there’s a little bit of hyperbole.) But far more ominous than a few human workers replaced by machines at a warehouse, startup companies like Vgo Communications, Anybots, and Willow Garage are developing “telepresence robots” that allow supervisors to monitor and interact with their employees from afar. A video camera and digital display sit atop a stick-thin body, and the whole unit scoots around like a Roomba. Outwardly, they seem like adorable, roving teleconference machines, but I can’t help thinking of Big Brother.

According to Technology Review, “Some of the earliest adopters are bosses who want to see and be seen by their underlings at any given time,” and further, “[A] Vgo owner uses the robot to inspect goods rolling off production lines in China.” What would stop a manager from firing slow assembly line employees from the safety of his laptop in the comfort of a first-class airplane seat? Absolutely nothing.

Source: Technology Review (full article available with registration)

Image courtesy of Anybots. 



Related Content

2007 Was A Good Year For Soulless Robots

Robotics, in my view, is a science filled with empty promises. It’s the scientific equivalent of the...

Secular Bible Channels the Voice of … Reason

Author A.C. Grayling has gone and taken God out of the Bible…

Robot Army: Rise of the Military Machines

As the death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to rise, robots are looking like an increasingly...

Machine Makes Writers Obsolete

In Philip M. Parker’s world, there’s no need for a writer to create a book. Parker has created a mac...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!