Robots play a very important role in the modern economy. After all, robots are already being used by a wide range of businesses in a wide range of sectors, meaning that they make a considerable contribution to the processes that provide us with the products and services that we use on a regular basis. With that said, it is important to note that robots are expected to see more and more use in the near future, not least because the interest in artificial intelligence is bringing about remarkable advancements in their capabilities. As such, interested individuals can expect a wide range of new robots to come into existence. Here are 20 kinds of robots that could become mainstream in the near future if Kiplinger, Salary.com, and The Motley Fool are to be believed:
Chances are good that robots are going to be replacing a lot of cashiers out there. After all, self-checkout systems are already seeing plenty of use, meaning that it won't be much of a leap to something even more automated. With that said, it seems reasonable to speculate that human cashiers won't be vanishing altogether. Once robotic cashiers start seeing widespread use, it is possible that consumers will start seeing human cashiers in a better light, with the result that they might continue to exist in retailers that want to convey a more premium feel.
2. Shelf Stocker
Speaking of which, it seems safe to say that robots will be replacing store clerks in other ways as well. For instance, shelf stocker robots are already seeing use at Walmart stores, meaning that they are likely to become more common as the relevant technologies become more and more sophisticated. This is particularly true because shelf stocking is a task that is well-suited for what modern robots can handle, as shown by the fact that shelf stocking robots already exist while others on this list are still in the process of being made.
3. Directions Giver
Human interaction is something that robots can't provide for the simple reason that robots can't be human by their very nature. Still, it is clear that there is enormous interest in coming up with robots that can provide something very similar. Unfortunately, this is a rather complicated process, seeing as how there are a number of major challenges such as the comprehension of speech that must be overcome. However, once robots with such capabilities come into existence, they are bound to start seeing use in stores as well as other locations as directions givers for the purpose of helping interested individuals get wherever it is that they want to go.
4. Data Analyst
Robots can process much more information than what humans can manage so long as robots understand how to perform said process. As such, data analysts are expected to come under threat from robots, which should be much more capable when it comes to producing insight from the raw information that is fed into them. Moreover, there are a lot of people involved in data analysis who are going to wind up training their replacements, seeing as how there are already robots that are capable of learning from example.
5. Fast Food Cook
Currently, robots are not actually capable of cooking. Instead, there are robots that can follow a set of pre-programmed instructions to make a meal, meaning that while they are useful, they are also very limited in that they can't be used outside of very controlled circumstances. Still, it seems reasonable to say that fast food cooks are going to get replaced by robots at some point in the not too distant future, particularly since the processes that enable fast food restaurants are already optimized to a considerable extent for increased efficiency.
6. Taxi Driver
There is huge interest on the part of Uber, Lyft, and a wide range of other parties in autonomous vehicles. This is perhaps unsurprising when autonomous vehicles are promising said parties some pretty incredible benefits, with examples ranging from a reduction in the chances of car accidents to the elimination of the need for a human presence in the car. For the time being, autonomous vehicles are still a work in progress. However, the sheer amount of time, effort, and other scarce resources being poured into them suggests that their introduction is no more than a matter of time, at which point, taxi drivers will have even more cause for concern.
7. Bus Driver
Of course, autonomous vehicles pose a similar threat to bus drivers. Certainly, a car is not the same as a bus. However, a lot of the fundamentals for an autonomous car and an autonomous bus are either the same or at least very similar, meaning that if one comes out, the other is bound to follow.
8. Long-Haul Trucker
For the modern economy to function, there are a lot of goods that need to be moved from place to place on a constant basis. This is carried out using various forms of transportation, but one of the most important consists of trucks. For the time being, these trucks still need human drivers, but that is bound to change as more and more advancements continue to be made. After all, autonomous trucks promise increased safety, increased reliability, and huge savings, which are a very attractive combination of characteristics to say the least.
Speaking of which, the automation of delivery is something that is being worked on at the moment, which is perhaps unsurprising considering the huge importance of online shopping in the present time. There are various systems being looked into by various parties. For example, there are those who have wondered about the potential of automated drones for automated delivery. In contrast, there are others who have suggested stocking autonomous vehicles with robots that can cover the last stretch of grounds from the curb to the door. Whatever the case, automated delivery is something that will be showing up sooner rather than later.
10. Security Guard
Security robots might seem like the kind of stuff that belongs in science fiction more than real life. However, they are already seeing use in certain places. This makes sense because security robots are untiring, thus providing them with a considerable advantage when compared to humans that can slack off. With that said, while security robots are certainly an attractive idea for certain companies, they still need a lot of issues to be worked out before they can prove to be practical.
People like to make jokes about killer robots, but chances are good that military robots are going to continue becoming more and more sophisticated. After all, the countries that are most capable of building robots tend to be pretty casualty-averse, meaning that it isn't difficult to think of potential roles for military robots that can help save the lives of their soldiers. For instance, a robot would be very useful for taking point, thus saving the need for a human soldier to take up such a high-risk position.
On a related note, drones have become very popular for military purposes. Some of them are extremely sophisticated tools that cost millions and millions of dollars. In contrast, others are, well, suffice to say that manufacturers are now making suicide drones patterned after their older, jury-rigged counterparts. Anyways, considering the interest in military drones, it should come as no surprise to learn that some of them are already automated to a considerable extent, meaning that robot drones aren't that far off into the future.
13. Medical Assistant
Robots possess the promise to make medical professionals both more efficient and more effective when it comes to carrying out their duties and responsibilities. Due to this, it is likely that robotic medical assistants will be spreading throughout healthcare facilities in the not too distant future, seeing as how their use promises to bring about huge upswings to patient outcomes. Robots aren't expected to replace doctors and other medical professionals, but their ability to pick up on patterns as well as their other benefits are expected to provide huge boons to those that start to use them.
14. Office Assistant
As stated earlier, robots are getting better at human interaction, not least because companies such as Google and Microsoft are spending huge amounts of money to improve the ability of machines to understand human communication as well as respond in a human-friendly manner. Due to this, robot office assistants are pretty much inevitable. Certainly, if they become capable of handling face to face meetings, they will be capable of performing similar duties over the telephone and other means of long-distance communication.
15. Assembly Line Worker
The automation of assembly lines is something that has been happening for some time. However, as robots continue to become more and more advanced, they are expected to be capable of taking on more and more roles in such processes, thus enabling them to see use in even more contexts. There is no way to tell to what extent this will happen, but there are a lot of parties out there that expect the eventual impact to be considerable to say the least.
There are already programs that can be used to write articles at a faster rate than what human writers can manage on their own. Granted, said programs aren't quite as good as their human counterparts at this point in time, but it should be remembered that they are still in the earlier stages of their development, meaning that they are likely to get better as time continues to pass. For that matter, there are plenty of cases in which people are willing to trade efficacy for efficiency, meaning that such writing programs are already very useful for a wide range of parties. Something that is bound to become more and more true as they continue to be improved upon.
Accounting is a broad field that encompasses a wide range of tasks. For example, the recording of transactions into a ledger is considered to be accounting. However, so is turning that raw information into a usable format for a business's internal decision-makers as well as other stakeholders. As such, a lot of the simpler accounting tasks are expected to get automated in the near future, which is a process that has already begun to some extent. After all, accounting software has seen huge leaps even compared to a decade ago, so it will be interesting to see their continuing evolution in the near future.
18. Loan Officer
Loan officers make their lending decisions based on the applicant's creditworthiness. Primarily, this means looking at their credit score, which is a convenient shorthand for creditworthiness. However, credit scores are limited in what they can and cannot convey, which is why loan officers need to be prepared to look at other factors as well. Having said this, a loan officer's duties can be performed by the right programs. Moreover, there is a good chance that with the right data, a program will be able to do an even better job because it will be able to draw useful insight from the data collected from other cases.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the increased ability of robots to interact with humans means that some of them are going to end up getting used for telemarketing. Moreover, considering the amount of information that can be collected and analyzed, there is a good chance that they are going to wind up doing a better job than their human counterparts, which might not be such a great thing for the people that they are selling products and services to.
Roofing robots promise to provide solid results at a lower cost than what human roofers will sustain. As such, once they have been perfected to the point of being introduced to the market, they could provide homeowners with some pretty convenient benefits in the times to come.
Written by Allen Lee
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