Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Robot Gossip Contest 1

A few days ago I read an article about a presentation by General Lance W. Lord the commander of the US Air Force Space Command. The General said that his mission to protect satellites is critical to the very existence of the world economy. Our economy has grown dependent on satellites for weather, GPS and communications. Without them, everything would collapse. When did this happen? Probably sometime back in the 1980’s.

Satellites first faded into the background after their initial novelty wore off and then silently integrated themselves deep into the very fabric of our economy.

Of course, many other technologies have done the same. Automobiles, electricity, and various processed foods – the list goes on.

The Robot Gossip contest is this:

The first person to point out where robots have become essential to the functioning of our society wins a fabulous prize. The prize to be determined later - I think we have some time.

Let me make clear that I am not asking anyone to create a dependence on robots. The contest is to be the first to identify it.

Also, I am not so much interested in cases of where it might happen. The winner will be the first to identify where it has already happened.

The use of robots in the auto industry is not yet a winning entry for two reasons. First, I think there are still many more people than robots building cars. Take away the robots and we will be able to recover fine. Secondly, the auto industry, especially in the US, is barely surviving as it is. One could not claim that robots are saving an industry that is suffering so much. However, the car companies may work their way through this current down-cycle by replacing thousands of human workers with robot workers and create the dependence that, once identified, could win this contest. That will probably not occur until around late 2009.

The winner should post their entry here or email it to me. The format should be easy to understand like charts or stories. Here is a hypothetical example:



Anonymous Cristobal said...

How about ATMs? Are they considered robots? I haven't had a human bank teller physically hand me money since, well, since they invented ATMs.

5:05 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger JakeH said...

The electronics industry. With the ever decresing size of the circuit boards and their components, robots are really the only way to produce them.

6:15 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Al Brown said...

I think its important to define what a robot is. Also, are we talking about autonomous robots only or are robots controlled by a human included?

If by robot, we include machines that build things on an assembly line, then intergrated circuits assembly already qualifies.

According to Gordon Moore, roughly one hundred million billion (100,000,000,000,000,000) transistors are manufactured every year. That’s about fifteen million transistors for each person on the planet or 28 transistors a minute per person.

Stop that for a year or two.

12:04 PM, March 01, 2006  
Blogger JakeH said...

Yup, that's what i be thinkin'. I certainly think assembly line robots qualify for this too. The car assembly 'bots of the example were only invalid because of their replaceability, not their 'robotude'.

2:23 PM, March 01, 2006  
Blogger Magnus said...

mars exploration (and deep deep sea diving) suffers from a robot dependency, that has still to be OVERCOME!
besides i think jakeh won, pointing out assembling circuit boards.

2:20 AM, March 02, 2006  

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