Dirty, Dull, and Dangerous

No, it's not me I try to describe (come to thing of it, it can be a proper description when I kill slugs). Apparently, this is the job description for robots. At a recent Swedish conference on robotics professor Danica Kragic Jensfelt talked about the drivers behind the development in different countries. She also made us rest assured that washing up after dinner by hand is a job we never need to be afraid of loosing out on to robots...

There is no surprise that the US is driving the development of robots for military applications. Japan seems to focus more on developing help to manage the aging population there. In Europe robotic support in industrial processes by robots has been a topic for a while.

I can't help but thinking that maybe what is considered dirty, dull and dangerous also varies among people from different cultures. It's probably a gender issue as well. Interestingly, friends of mine named their automower Bo-Astrid, probably reflecting that both of them, man and wife, used to do the mowing before. There is some research on this too. According to a study made in 2008, people tend to want robots to do work that require memorization, keen perceptual abilities, and service-orientation. At the same time, they prefer people in occupations that require artistry, evaluation, judgment and diplomacy.

I'm not sure if that's because they think people are better at theses tasks or if they are afraid of loosing the relatively fun jobs. No wonder that they also felt more positively toward robots doing jobs with people rather than in place of people. However, the list of quite interesting, not so dirty nor dangerous jobs that are predicted to be accomplished by robots in the near future is unnervingly long.

Long before robots were plentiful, the concept "dirty, dangerous and demeaning" was coined to describe certain kinds of jobs some of which are taken over by robots. I wonder when a job will be too demeaning for a robot?

Drones are often hailed as the solution to many dirty, dull and dangerous jobs. However, it seems that they are now facing another kind of danger: people (like me) wanting to shoot them down when they are hovering around taking pictures without your permission. I'm looking forward to when cheap versions of the DroneDefender from Battelle hit the market.

Robots can be cute as well. Wall-E is one of my favourite films all times. When accompanying my nephew to the Science Fiction Bookstore in Gothenburg, I found this amazing book on how to make crochet robots: Crobots. My ambition is to make at least one! Mum, please help me!


Staffan Truvé said...

There are other, "biological" ways to take out drones: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/02/01/trained-eagle-destroys-drone-in-dutch-police-video/

Lena M Holmberg said...

I know, but I don't think you should keep birds of prey in captivity and I also think it's very likely that they will be hurt in the process. Why don't somebody design an eagle robot instead ;-)

Staffan Truvé said...

That's the next step - long live biomimicry!