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Über dieses Buch

Understand the current and future research into technologies that underpin the increasing capabilities of automation technologies and their impact on the working world of the future.

Rapid advances in automation and robotics technologies are often reported in the trade and general media, often relying on scary headlines such as “Jobs Lost to Robots.” It is certainly true that work will change with the advent of smarter and faster automated workers; however, the scope and scale of the changes is still unknown. Automation may seem to be here already, but we are only at the early stages.

Automation and Collaborative Robotics explores the output of current research projects that are improving the building blocks of an automated world. Research into collaborative robotics (cobotics) is merging digital, audio, and visual data to generate a commonly held view between cobots and their human collaborators. Low-power machine learning at the edge of the network can deliver decision making on cobots or to their manipulations. Topics covered in this book include:

Robotic process automation, chatbots, and their impact in the near future

The hype of automation and headlines leading to concerns over the future of work

Component technologies that are still in the research labs

Foundational technologies and collaboration that will enable many tasks to be automated with human workers being re-skilled and displaced rather than replaced

What You Will Learn

Be aware of the technologies currently being researched to improve or deliver automation

Understand the impact of robotics, other automation technologies, and the impact of AI on automation

Get an idea of how far we are from implementation of an automated future

Know what work will look like in the future with the deployment of these technologies

Who This Book Is For

Technical and business managers interested in the future of automation and robotics, and the impact it will have on their organizations, customers, and the business world in general



Preparing for the Future of Work


Chapter 1. Will Robots Replace You?

At the dawn of civilization, in the forests of Siberia, a small tribe was engaged in discussion of great importance to themselves and mankind. It was winter. As the humans argued, wolf dogs ate scraps of discarded food. Smaller than wolves, they had been domesticated and were perfect for pulling heavy loads without overheating. But a few of the larger wolf dogs seemed able to pick up the scent of the large bears better than humans could. Some of the tribe wanted to breed and train these wolf dogs for hunting. Other hunters who were widely known for their olfactory skills might have been concerned that their specialty, their craft, was threatened by the more sensitive canine olfactory system.
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Chapter 2. Technology Definitions

Level Setting for the Rest of the Book
Before discussing technology challenges, it is worth looking at how artificial intelligence, machine learning, reinforcement learning, and neural networks relate to each other, what are they, and what is their relationship to automation and collaborative robotics.
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Robots Are Working


Chapter 3. Robotic Process Automation

Is This the Real Job Killer?
Although the subtitle of this book is “A Guide to the Future of Work,” this chapter will explore the challenges of automation and some solutions that have a legitimate claim to affect the present and the future of work. As we will show in this chapter, automation is not a series of distinct moment but a continuum of strategies and technologies that intend to increase levels of automation and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations. Some of the strategies and technologies we discuss are already being deployed; others are only at the initial stages but will have an impact on who does what work in the future. Increasing automation has been a goal of information technology since the earliest attempts to use computing to handle vast amounts of data and repetitive tasks. If we look at some of the significant places on the continuum of automation, we can gain perspective.
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Chapter 4. Robots in Teams

Devastation! If you were standing at the corner of Harbour Avenue and Front Street on this Caribbean Island, you would see in every direction, through patches of mist and dust, heart-wrenching scenes of devastation caused by the recent category 5 hurricane. The houses and buildings of this once-quaint, popular tourist city are smashed, broken into timber and glass and twisted metal. Days later, when the winds subside to tolerable levels, fires still rage.
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Chapter 5. Robots Without Arms

Smart Buildings and Transport
We are looking toward a future where more things become smart with the addition of many sensors and actuators connected to the world of the Internet of Things (IoT). Software robots and physical robots are being developed and increasingly deployed in the home and workplace with lights, door locks, air conditioning, and cookers increasingly becoming sources of data and action. Software robots are becoming smarter, managing process automation using robotic process automation (RPA) or using chatbots capable of holding a two-way conversation as we saw in Chapter 4, “Robotic Process Automation.” Physical robots are working in supply chains, in warehouses, and in the delivery of goods. These have all been discussed in earlier chapters. In this chapter we will examine the current and future impacts on society and two special cases of automation: smart buildings and autonomous vehicles sometimes called driverless vehicles. This chapter will focus on these two cases that could best be described as “robots without arms.”
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Making Sense for Robots and Society


Chapter 6. Robots in a World of Data

Creating Human-Robot Synergy
Data fusion is considered an important component for many of the new technology initiatives that are being developed. We define data fusion in the next section of the chapter. Data fusion is an enabling technology in many domains, but currently it has been brought to prominence by the development of autonomous vehicles, intelligent automation, and collaborating autonomous mobile robots.
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Chapter 7. Robots in Society

Corporate Responsibilities
Consider the humble vacuum robot. In Chapter 1, “Will Robots Replace You?”, we recounted the story in which a friend’s Roomba navigated itself into and through a cat litter box and across her wood floor, depositing and spreading litter and stool. In her case, the damage was temporary, but what if the damage had been permanent, perhaps destroying an antique rug? If we assume that the robot is a tool, we might ask whether the scenario was foreseeable and whether the manufacturer was strictly liable because product warnings and instructions failed to clearly warn the user about floor-level containers with a low barrier (in this case a litter box).
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan

Chapter 8. Work in the Future

A Summary and Conclusion
As we conclude this book, the world is beset by a crisis of historic proportions. COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has rapidly spread throughout the globe, leaving death, sorrow, and economic hardship in its wake. Medical professionals and scientists the world over are trying to use their expertise to help monitor, make sense of, diagnose, prevent, and treat this infection.
Peter Matthews, Steven Greenspan


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