Mechatronics

Humans vs. Robots (part 1): What is Robotics?

Humans vs. Robots (part 1): What is Robotics?
​At the most basic level, robotics is a technology used to make machines that is sensitive to the society processes in the world. It means these machines work or run with the computer programs, information that given by computers and then does something in response to the information such as moving and turning or any other activity as human bodies.

In early times, that means after industrial revolution human beings thought about robotics and made a virtual world with robots where they created things such as movies and dramas which introduced the robotics technology to the world. In 60’s and 70’s motor vehicle companies used primary robotics technology to manufacture more comfortable vehicles. In today’s fast moving world after the introduction of computer technology, human beings use robotics to many different purposes. As mention before robotics response to the computer programs and because of this human gave their work to the robots such as, surgical operations, defense operations, manufacturing operations and many more activities. Robots can automate using computer programs and can increase the accuracy, safety, reliability and the amount quantity of the products or services compared to human beings. Robots have no sensitivity such as hunger, pain or depression etc. So because of this they can work more hours and more work load without a break.Currently this technology has evolved around the world. As an example hybrid technology is one of the most famous robotic technologies in the motor vehicle manufacturing company sector.  Hybrid technology is a combination of gasoline engines and electric motors and configures to different objectives such as economical fuel gain and increase the power of the vehicles. Even in real world we can see many working robots and robotics technology has taken the humans’ place to some extent. Korea, Japan and other developed countries use robots as receptionist, labor and even as children’s toys. But before using these surprising technologies to reduce human’s work load, human beings should think twice about it.

In 1942 the science fiction author, Issac Asimov considered about three laws for Robots in his short story Runaround.

  1. A robot has no authority injure a human being or through inaction also it should not allow a human being come to harm.
  2. Every robot must obey to the orders that given by human being and robot can disobey to the orders that they are conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as they can and such protection method does not conflict with the First and Second Law.

So before manufacturing robots, the companies and organizations that use robotic technologies should pay their attention to these laws. Because human beings are the main important character in this earth and all other things are done to give a better live to them. But nowadays we can see many associated problems of robotics that are attacking human lives directly or indirectly without the knowledge of them.

Robot Workers versus Human Workers

As mentioned earlier, nowadays robot workers have taken the place of human workers. Many of these jobs are retroflexed, uninteresting and risky to human workers and because of this nature humans can get depression or discomfort regarding their jobs. Placing robots for these kinds of works are cannot be wrong, because robots do not have sensitivity about their jobs. But if we consider about the job capacity of the world, humans do have more jobs to turn. So, this argument is can be true when considering the perspective of the development of a country as well as an aid to the advancement of science and technology.

After the industrial revolution, most of the countries enjoyed the benefits of rapid development of science and the technology. With combination of technological advancements and higher standard education of these countries, they put a high value for the needs of humans and gave a chance to uneducated human beings to do repetitive work such as factory work. Due to the social imbalance of poverty in the society, uneducated humans had to work every day without a break and it created social unrest due to the depression over the labor human beings. After the introduction of robotic technology to the world, most of the factory owners used semi robots to work along with the humans. As a result of this, many other comfortable characteristics came into the surface such as sensor vehicles, modern homes etc. Because of these unlimited needs, the industrial world paved a way to use fully robotic technologies to fulfill the speed of manufacturing. By giving full authorization to robots in factory work, owners gained more profits and gained more loyalty from the educated and high class people in the society. But the labor community had to face the side effects of lost employment opportunities.Though many workers from developing countries still go to Middle Eastern and European countries for labor work such as in residences, garments and manufacture companies etc. What will happen if they start to use robots for all these works replacing human labor?This problem may breach many social and ethical principles of the technological innovation. When considering the ethical principles, under the Human Right Act (1998) of UK that holds as exceptions to the right to privacy of human beings and it also says about ‘rise for the economic well-being of a country’. But unemployment is one of the main characters that bargain the economic environment of a country. These modern technologies are mainly used to fulfill the human needs and give a long live life for them. But under the unemployment people cannot make money to purchase their needs. If everyone who lives in the world cannot fulfill their lives utilizing technology, such technologies are not useful in the long run. This is the turning point of how robotic technology breaches the human rights.

Autonomous Robots

In today’s world we can see many autonomous robots that are helping humans to fulfill their day to day activities. The autonomous robotics theory and the applications are being applied in these robotics systems and they are fully capable for some steps that aid self-satisfaction of humans.

In real world most of the people use ‘Global Positioning System (GPS)’ for their day to day ridings and journeys. In most of European countries and some of Asian countries such as Japan, China carry out researches about the robotics technology and other innovative programs to use this technology for luxury vehicles with GPS. These technologies are still in testing phase and new posterity has the chance to feel the effectiveness of this system.  In this system, they use algorithms to build programs to run the vehicles without a help from mankind. When the passenger insert the location into the system using a device or any other method, the vehicle will automatically take the position with the GPS system and they will drive the vehicle to the place of that particular positioned in GPS system.Similarly, modern homes are another system that uses autonomous decision making without the help of mankind. In these homes they use security systems, use electricity automatically and functions for the human voice. Yet, before giving autonomous decision making ability to the robots, human should think twice as mentioned before.When the robots have their own functioning system, they can do anything that they want t. For an example in autonomous driving, the robot has the authority to harm the passengers if it wants. On the other hand, someone can argue as the most safety way for passengers to finish their journey less or without road accidents, because the vehicle is running on programmed systems. But if these systems get crashed and they security systems get jammed by any means, how will the vehicle be controlled safely? If there a human in the driving sheet, they can take better decisions rationally depending on the situation compared to a machine. If passengers get harmed due to an accident, which party will take the responsibilities over the accident? Can we use any legal action to the robotics or owner of vehicle or over the manufacturing company? No one can put the blame over any person, because it occurred due to a machine.In Human Right Act (1998) mentioned this ‘act will legally charge when the breach the conditions that applied for public safety and this is a law for prevent the humans disorders and crimes happened in the society’. In the other hand in “BCS Code of conduct” public interest sector mentioned ‘People should due regard for public health, privacy, security and wellbeing of others and the environment’. So if a human breaches these laws, the government can take legal action over that particular human, but how can it take over a machine? This is a very sensitive subject matter where there are many unanswered questions hanging around us as a result.

About the contributor
Oshan is working as a project manager in implementation (civil and electrical) at Injinia Global Pvt Ltd. He also works as a web development lecturer in    Panadura branch of National Youth Service Council.

Reference

Cover Image: FREEPICK.COM. (2017) Teen posing sportswear with wall background. [online] Available from: www.freepik.com. [Acceded : Jan 12, 2017].

Oshan Silva
Oshan is working as a project manager in implementation (civil and electrical) at Injinia Global Pvt Ltd. He also works as a web development lecturer in Panadura branch of National Youth Service Council.
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