COVID-19 and its impact on robots and automation


I came across two articles on SingularityHub a few days ago. I thought that these were particularly interesting given our current situation.

In ‘Robots to the Rescue’ the main points are:

  • social distancing is in wide use, but it’s also bringing many jobs to a standstill
  • key areas where robots could help are clinical care, logistics, and reconnaissance
  • outside of medicine, robots could help keep the economy by replacing humans in industry
  • robots have already been deployed to disinfect hospitals and public spaces
  • automation of test sample collection and analysis

Some of the points in ‘Coronavirus May Mean Automation’ include:

  • as of late 2019 Amazon employed around 650,000 humans and 200,000 robots—and costs have gone down as robots have gone up
  • ‘shelter-in-place’ creating the biggest remote-work experiment in US history
  • more automation will help us stay healthy during times like the present, it will drive down the cost of goods and services, and it will grow our GDP in the long run

Robots and automation are filling the voids that the spread of COVID-19 has created. The longer this continues, the more automation that will slip into place. Even after COVID-19 has become history, much of the automation will remain in place. Companies and universities will continue their research. Automation and robots will be part of their contingency plans for the next emergency.

Further Reading

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