China robot conference showcases automated future

BEIJING,  The World Robot Conference in Beijing showcased myriads of robot prototypes and provided glimmering signs of China’s automated future.

China is the world’s largest market for industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
China is the world’s largest market for industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event drew together 100 experts, 12 global organizations and more than 120 companies, Euro News reported.

China’s HIT Robot Group, based in the northern city of Harbin, displayed robots that can carry rifles and grenade launchers, The Telegraph reported Thursday.

The machines, which are toy-sized, are designed to combat terrorism, but Chinese state media did not mention how the robots could be prevented from falling into enemy hands.

A Beijing police force has reportedly purchased a set of the robots at $234,720 that includes a “reconnaissance” robot that can detect poisonous gases and chemicals.

“The toy-sized robots can coordinate with each other on the battlefield,” Xinhua reported.

The BBC reported China already is the world’s largest market for industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Analysts at the conference said service robots that function in the home and office are most likely to be in demand in the future, and one exhibit showcased a cooking robot, built to resemble a woman.

Robot waiters are already in use at Chinese tourist sites and restaurants.

A robot developed in Japan, Geminoid F, was popular at the event for its ability to interact with people.

“[Our] final goal is creating some artificial intelligence system … by using this robot,” Kohei Ogawa of Osaka University said.

Robots could make lives easier for many people, but for others their increased sophistication could mean bad news.

CNN Money reported that more intelligent robots are likely to put 50 percent of U.S. and British jobs at risk, quoting data from the Bank of England.

The bank’s chief economist Andy Haldane had said 80 million U.S. and 15 million British jobs could vanish in the next 10-20 years because the new machines have the “potential to substitute for human brains as well as hands.”

Administrative, clerical and production workers are at the highest risk of being replaced, Haldane said.

By Elizabeth Shim

UPI NEWS