Robots – I came across this video today. It was published to YouTube back in November of 2017. While I think it brings up a number of good points, I am still concerned that the increasing introduction of robots and automation will have a detrimental effect on jobs. While I do agree that automation will create new jobs, I fear that the bulk of the new jobs created will be lower paying than those that are eliminated.
I guess only time will tell. All we can do, as far as I can see, is to prepare through continuing education. It is also important for students to choose their professions after some consideration of the future work environment. I do hope that High School councilors are equipped to guide these students into what will turn out to be long-term professions.
I came across the article “Does Science Fiction Really Drive Innovation?” this morning and found it very interesting. I would have said with more force that the answer was clearly “YES” before I read the article. Now, I am more likely to agree with the author – Science Fiction and Innovation really go hand in hand.
I still contend though that science fiction, in general, is likely to instill in kids and young adults reading or watching it an interest in science that ultimately contributes to innovation. It would be interesting to see how many students who pursue careers in science have read or watched science fiction as opposed to say those who pursued law or history. If that study doesn’t exist someone in academia should take it on.
Short Films – I thought that “The Last Dean” is a very clever short (2:53) video.
It is Pi Day today and I wanted to remind all my readers about it. I can’t really say much more than I wrote last year, so I’m just going to repeat it here.
It is time to celebrate once again that incredible number Pi or 3.14159… I had a post that included some of the history in 2016. Take a few moments today and participate in the 30th annual celebration of Pi!
This is a great opportunity to introduce kids to STEM thru Pi. They learn a little history, learn some math and it can be capped with a nice slice of yummy pie. My first choice would be cherry.
As I suggested previously, try these methods of celebration.
One of the easiest and most fun is to simply eat pie!
Wear or display the Pi symbol
Plan your recognition event for 1:59 PM (i.e. 3.14159)
And, of course, mark your calendars for next year so you can plan something in advance.
NASA is offering a way to celebrate Pi Day this year with their “Pi in the Sky” challenge.
Robots – I have always liked the animatronics that Disney has placed in their parks. Now they are headed in a new direction with some new self-contained, autonomous animatronic characters – the Vyloo. I read about these today in the article “Disney has begun populating its parks with autonomous, personality-driven robots“.
These creatures have embedded cameras and sensors as well as the control electronics to make them come to life. These little robotic figures are programmed with actions and motions, but what makes them unique is the way they can sense their audience and interact with them.
I look forward to seeing these little guys and even more advanced versions in the years ahead. I can easily see where autonomous robots like these are going to be key to establishing the immersive experience that Disney wants to offer their visitors.
Robots – I have been impress by the Boston Dynamics robots since their first models. They just keep getting better every year. This video was posted today on YouTube.
Space – SpaceX tested its new, heavy launch vehicle the Falcon Heavy today. Not only was the launch successful placing a test payload into orbit, but it was able to successfully recover both of the flanking boosters at the Florida facility. At the time I publish this there is no word yet as to whether the main stage recovery on a barge in the Pacific was successful.
This will give the US a heavy lift capacity that it has not had in some time. With the ability to lift over 140,000 lbs, this rocket will be able to lift nearly three times the Delta IV-Heavy, TitanIV-B or Atlas V. This may be a significant step forward for missions to the Moon or more importantly to Mars.
Apparently even Walmart is looking at automation in its stores. Two different initiatives seem to be under evaluation by Walmart.
EMMA (Enabling Mobile Machine Automation), an autonomous machine for scrubbing store floors, is under evaluation at five stores. After a training run controlled by a human operator to identify the desired operational path, the machine will autonomously clean the floor. It has built in sensors and cameras similar to autonomous vehicles currently on the roads that allow it to navigate around obstacles at a sedate 2.5 miles per hour. EMMA is a product of Brain Corp.
In a separate trial, Walmart has deployed shelf-scanning robots in 50 stores. These machines will scan store shelves to verify inventory, prices and misplaced items. These units are from Bossa Nova Robotics.
Will these attempts at automation cost jobs? Well, probably over the long term, but it is unlikely that the impact will be significant. It is clear though that robots and automation will be in our future.