Friday, 20 March 2015

cottage industry

The Financial Times reports on a collaborative robotic-human experiment in the workplace. Unlike the industrial manufacturing application that one usually imagines when thinking about automation, these so-called co-bots are small and portable and can be mounted on a desktop to work alongside its human mentor, and assail tasks that benefit from nimbler and faster performance than human dexterity and can deliver.

Smaller factories and crafters would be able to produce items more efficiently by collapsing the concept of the assembly line upon itself, with an affordable alternative to contracting out production with adaptable, modular machines that can even be easily taught new moves by example and not reprogramming. I suppose though counterfeiters and sweat-shops would be equally able to churn out crap of more consistent quality faster and without a bothersome, exploited staff. What do you think? Could you share your space with a co-bot, looking eagerly over your shoulder so as to imitate and improve upon your techniques and work-ethic?