HRP-4: The Robot Worker

Reuters News just posted a short video news report about Kawada and AIST’s (Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) newest bipedal robot – the HRP-4.

The HRP-4 joins Japan’s growing inventory of humanoid robots designed to replace human manual labor on production lines and factory floors. It is 151 centimeters (5 feet) tall, weighs about 39 kilos (86 pounds) and costs roughly about 300,000 USD to produce.

See the original Rob Muir report for Reuters or check out the YouTube video demonstration of the humanoid robot below.

As seen in the videos above new HRP-4 humanoid robot is much more diverse in its capabilities than previous generations of humanoid robots. Given its advanced design the robot can be adopted to work in a variety of different fields performing basic manual labor tasks and, since it is not a member of a union, doesn’t complain about working conditions and can easily do double shifts when business requires it, there will be a strong economic incentive behind its adoption.

In short, I hope you are not working on a production line or a factory floor somewhere in Japan for I am afraid that your days getting paid for that kind of work are counted. If you are doing similar work elsewhere – don’t feel too safe because while it may take a bit longer, eventually humanoid robots are coming to a factory floor near you…

The bigger question however is: Are there any jobs that are completely safe from the reach of automated machinery and advanced robotics?

…and is that a good or a bad trend anyway?!

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