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Social Robots Might Overtake Humans in Future

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Social Robots Might Overtake Humans in Future

Robotics is a technology that has fascinated humans for quite some time. Robots mean the machines that can perform tasks on their own, without depending upon humans for any help. Some years back, they were programmed to perform tasks, but now it has changed with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence has enabled robots to become smarter, by giving them a chance to behave and make decisions on their own. It is similar to the way in which humans behave and is a great achievement from technological perspective. It has given rise to several other technologies, that have all become automated.

There is a concept under Robotics that is different from traditional robots- Social Robots. They do not behave like the robots that can be found in industries or assembly lines. Those robots are programmed in a way that they perform the tasks assigned. Social robots are completely different in a way that they interact directly with humans.

The reason for developing Social robots is that they would be able to ease human’s work by taking their place, wherever required. They can replace humans in shops, cafes, homes and other places. They can even act as a family and recognize human emotions.

Several concepts of Artificial Intelligence are used- Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning. Natural Language Processing would help the robots to understand the human language, as humans do not speak like the way it is written. Most of the times, people speak in an informal way, using slangs, which can be hard for machines to understand.

Machine Learning means that they would be able to learn from their previous patterns. A few years back, machines were not smart and were not able to correct their mistake, because they were programmed to operate in a certain way. With current technology and with the help of algorithms, machines are being developed in a way, that would allow them to think on their own.  

They are being used as companions by people of all ages, and especially by elder people. As it becomes hard to perform all the tasks on their own, elder people can benefit greatly from social robots. They would be able to perform daily tasks related to cleaning, preparing food. People would be able to train them according to their needs, by showing them the way they like their tasks to be performed. 

The ability of robots to interpret human emotions is an aspect that can change the way humans interact with machines. Many people feel that they cannot speak about certain aspects in their life with any other person. In those cases, social robots can offer great help, because a person would have the security that their information would not be leaked.

Social robots could also be used for teaching several courses. A research was done, wherein these robots were assigned the task of teaching a second language to young students. The results were positive because significant changes could be observed in the student’s ability to pronounce the words better, which were problem areas in the past.

Using Artificial Intelligence has also helped to build robots that can learn by performing the same action as a human. It is also known as Imitation Learning, because a robot imitates the actions of a human. It can help them to perform in the exact way, which would to bring them closer to reality. This is the same way in which toddlers learn languages and behaviors from their parents.

Some social robots that have been developed:

  • HitchBOT: This robot was designed to hitchhike in many countries throughout the world. Hitchhiking means to travel from one place to another by taking help from local people that may be travelling in the direction of a hitchhiker. This was a common practice in Europe and many travelers in other countries have started to adapt it. HitchBOT was basically designed to check whether people would be comfortable with dropping a machine from one place to another. The robot was charged with the help of solar energy.
  • Tico: It is a social robot that is designed to deal with emotions and motivate or encourage people to perform their tasks. The main purpose of Tico is to encourage kids, so that they can perform optimally in classes. This robot has been used in many industries- for advertising, marketing and education. Working in all these sectors has enabled it to become proficient with identifying human emotions and behave accordingly.
  • Bandit: A social robot that is designed to deal with autistic children. As autistic children need special care, these robots make sure that they behave in a careful way. It was found in experiments that these children usually had a problem when interacting with some unknown person, but with the use of Bandit, children felt more comfortable and were able to create a special bond. These robots also possess empathy, which helps them to understand about things from a human’s perspective.
  • Jibo: Another social robot that was designed to stay within a family, understand emotions and act as a support. But unfortunately, Jibo’s server has been shut down and it is no longer functional. There were some functionalities that it lacked, which was the reason for it to be shut down. Studies are being done to fix the issues and develop social robots that can be free of errors.

Social robots are still in their early phases and major scope can be observed at this stage. Yes, there are times when the robot is not able to function as per the requirement, but with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, robots are getting smarter. Those days are not far when robots will be able to take control of most of the tasks and make lives of humans, significantly easier.

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