You already met the HRP-4, which is like a Power Ranger for the cubicle farm. (Although its most pressing function is to pour coffee.) How about the rest of the bionic marvels that are being sold to corporations and businesses this year? Ladies and gentlemen, behold the rise of the machines.
BusinessWeek just ran a story about the new ‘bots that are expected to be your office chums in the next few months/years. The article specifically focused on three models of various build and capabilites. The HRP-4 is the most humanoid, while the Anybots QB is a Segway with eyes.
The different capabilities and functions also mean different prices. The Japanese HRP-4 is the most impressive-looking at $350,000 for each unit. We’re thinking if it can strike fighting poses like the one pictured above, it must be worth the cash. Next in line is the dull R2D2 upstart from the U.S. the PR2 whose claws can be used to fetch a beer thanks to an app. At the bottom of the register is the $15,000 Segway ‘bot mentioned earlier, the Anybots.
It’s no surprise that the advent of thinking machines, whose indefinite perfectibility and superior intelligence means they will be better than us, has caused some labor worries. if robots can do all the jobs, what’s left for humans? This is going to be the biggest questions of the 21st century.
We’re also wondering if the manufacturers bothered to program the ‘bots with Isaac Asimov’s hallowed Three Laws of Robotics. If there is a single document that sets the standard for ethical robotic existence, then dear old Asimov (who was actually a degree-wielding chemist) is the man.
Via Bloomberg BusinessWeek
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