Toyota Robot
Toyota to develop workman humanoid robot by 2005

From the article:Also:It is interesting that this article mentions "nursing care". The conventional wisdom holds that nurses (like teachers) will be immune to robotic replacement. But nurses are under fire even in 2004:

Robot gets job as nurse

From the article:Also:If there is this much corporate demand to replace nurses now, imagine how quickly nurses (along with teachers, waiters/waitresses, store clerks, etc. etc.) will be replaced once there are humanoid robots like Toyota's available off-the-shelf to take over these jobs. See Robotic Nation for details.

Robots that look human #2
Most robots in science fiction look like C-3PO or R2-D2, and most robots in the workforce today look like industrial arms. The new trend is toward creating robots that look completely human, as discussed previously. Now there is a new version of a human-looking robot from Japan called the Actroid. See, for example, this article.

Robots and Compensation
Productivity's profits bypass American workers

From the article:The concentration of wealth that this article talks about -- where productivity grows but employees see little of the benefit -- is discussed in Robotic Freedom.

The author gives an example of why this is happening:This sounds exactly like Manna.

Job Growth and Robots

From the article:Also:As mentioned here, what is happening is a "perfect storm" of unemployment. The loss of manufacturing jobs combines with the loss of white collar jobs and the loss of jobs to robots to create employment stagnation. It will be followed by a period where, despite robust economic growth, unemployment grows. This is the nature of the Robotic Nation.


Robotic Science
Robot scientist outperforms humans in lab

From the article:Also:

The conventional wisdom holds that robots won't be doing "human" things like "generating hypotheses" and "interpretting results" for decades, yet we are seeing the harbingers of it today. From the NY Times:And:Despite the conventional wisdom, it really will not be that long before robotic intelligence is equivalent to, and then surpasses, human intelligence. See Robotic Nation for details.

Robotic Umpire
Modern science has created a robotic umpire able to call balls and strikes. It is not being used in games yet, but according to the article Foolproof Umpire, The it would appear that the end is near for umpires:If the equipment costs a tenth as much as a human umpire, and if the robotic umpire does a better job, it is only a matter of time before the umpires are gone. The next time the umpires strike, they will be replaced.

Economically, replacing the umpires makes sense for lots of reasons. Why pay human umpires $400,000 per year when a machine does a better job? The problem is that millions and millions of jobs will succumb to this same pressure over the next 20 years -- everyone from pilots to Wal-Mart employees will be replaced by robots at approximately the same time. See Robotic Nation for details.


Open-platform humanoid robot
Open PINO Platform

The idea behind the open PINO platform is to provide a humanoid robot chassis design that is "open", like LINUX is open. Researchers, engineers and inventors can access the design of this robot, use the plans freely, add to them, improve them and so on. The translation from Japanese is a little rough, but here's what the site has to say about this project:You can build PINO from the plans, or buy a pre-built PINO chassis from a company called ZMP. Click here for photos and a movie of the ZMP product. The cost of the pre-built robot appears to be well below $50,000.

Because Honda has invested tens of millions of dollars in ASIMO, many people believe that humanoid robots will be extremely expensive and rare for the foreseeable future. This is not the case. The PINO platform, and others like it, show that inexpensive robotic platforms will be widely available to developers. The cost will be low enough for thousands of smaller businesses to get into the game. As computer power and vision algorithms become available, they will be deployed into robotic products quite rapidly and at low cost.

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