Nov 222014

One of the key themes of this site is how  industries and workplaces are changing, one good example of this is Knightscope’s K-5 robot, a refrigerator sized device that does many of the tasks currently done by human security guards.

The K-5 comes with an impressive list of security features; live video,  facial recognition, behavioral analysis and a range of other tools to help organisations protect their premises.

With an advertised running cost of $6.25 an hour, half the US mean average wage for security guards, the robots appear an attractive proposition although one suspects the limitations of the devices, not to mention the networking infrastructure involved, won’t make them feasible for most places in the near future.

Despite its limitations, the K-5 shows the direction of robot technologies in replacing jobs that until recently were thought to be immune to automation. As the technologies inside the K-5 become smaller and lighter, future devices will become even more flexible and adaptable.

Adding to the strengths of these autonomous devices is their constant connectivity, as the promotional video shows the robot uses cloud services to run its recognition and alarm services. Coupled with various sensors and beacons within a building, and these robot security guards become formidable devices.

The applications for devices like the K-5 goes beyond patrolling shopping centres, car parks or industrial complexes; it’s not hard to see how similar devices can be deployed in applications like agriculture, mining or manufacturing for tasks where it would be expensive or dangerous to employ humans.

What the K-5 illustrates Andrew McAfee’s warning of exponential technological change being about to engulf businesses, the employment implications of that should have community leaders thinking as well.

For entrepreneurs, on the other hand, advances in robotics are another great opportunity.

  One Response to “The rise of the robots”

  1. 50% of the jobs that exist today in the US and rest of the world won’t exist within the next 10 years thanks to robotics and technologies that have shifted industries over centuries (from Oxford University). The economic impact of these would be $14trillion to $33trillion per year from 2025 (from McKinsey) (Can also have a look at the YouTube video ‘Humans need not Apply’ when free – as it will show that creative including journalism, analytical, physical and other worlds are all gone whether it be manager’s post, programmer’s job or lower level position. Trading floors already use robots where they think on own using superior AI. That has also happened elsewhere which includes the greatest chess player being defeated by superior AI robot. Elon Musk has again predicted about Artificial Intelligence becoming a reality within the next 5 years couple of days back – where you have them just like in the Terminator movie series. It’s bit earlier than what he had predicted months back though his last prediction of 20 years or so could completely take place within Asian, African and South American worlds at that point in time though rest of the world, it maybe earlier for many jobs.

    Sadly, Australia has not been great with both innovations and ICT even though it has come out with some. Plus the country is now going through a transition phase so what occurred to some people where they lost jobs due to recession could happen to anyone not just due to economic scenario but also due to robots and changes within industry).

    Anyway, some of those technologies already exist today:
    a) Education:
    Within the educational landscape, all of us can see that the traditional types of learning have been shifting. First, we have the blended learning types (6 basic types) where the precedence has shifted towards the online blended version. In addition to the blended types, we also have the MOOCs or the massive open online courses. Both are challenging the ways of education right from primary type of education.

    With tuition fees increasing around the world, MOOCs could be an option where university courses are either free or cheap on them. MIT, University of Melbourne and various others provide their 1st 1 or 2 or even 3 years of courses for free.

    b) Hospitality:
    According to YouTube, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and various other sources, robots already exist as waiters and chefs in a couple of countries including Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Israel, US, etc (Japan, South Korea and China are amongst Australia’s leading trading partners).

    c) Self-service revolution:
    Self-service revolution has actually existed for nearly 100 years according to The Independent. Today, it is part of our lives – ATMs, self-checkout, point-of-sale, kiosks, Internet, mobile devices, etc. In Europe alone, according to Cordis, mobiles have been used for transportation payment since 2003. Driverless or autonomous cars would soon be there as well (Google 1 of the players involved with it and they already have good safety record). Other players are BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, etc. And few of these players are allies with Uber technology. Rio already uses driverless trucks.

    d) Journalism/blogging/publishing/content marketing/digital PR:
    Robots aren’t just restricted to the physical stuff like manufacturing, hospitality, driving, nursing but they are also involved with analytical and creative areas like journalism.

    NARRATIVE SCIENCE is an example of a firm that uses automated sports and finance articles while there are many more including Associated Press and LA Times.

    Open source already exists in the legal way for books (novels and texts of any area), music, news, etc .
    is 1 of those sites with public libraries and university libraries from all around the world. This site, Scribd and 44 other sites are places for getting free books under the site Also, in addition to those, there are Bookboon, BookCrossing, Wiley Online Library,, SlideShare, Realtime Publishers,,,, etc.

    Furthermore, Google, Bloomberg, Reuters, Apple, etc. provide a lot of information for free (Apple via O/S) yet all of them make money too. Reuters and Bloomberg via financial information (80 to 90% of their revenue). That’s why The Australian and SMH business models have failed as they ask for subscription without providing much for free. 1 way of finding those articles for free is by typing the article titles under Google. Another way is by using Tor Project (Anonymity Online). Yet another way is by using the Aussie site Trove. And still yet another way is by using the various VPNs or anonymous social network Social Number.

    Even Research articles are free these days (real-time basis). 1 site is where as another Google you must be using which includes Google Scholar.

    e) Others:
    The medium of exchange has been shifting slowly more towards technology as nowadays an individual can use even mobiles to pay for goods (unfortunately Australia has only recently started that while rest of developed world has had it for about 10 years now while some of the emerging and developing nations too have had it for 5 to 10 years now). There have also been the electronic cards as well as virtual currency. Bitcoin is an example of the virtual currency.

    Trade shows have shifted from their traditional ways to the virtual or hybrid ones since 1993. For example, Marketplace365 used to be called ConventionView, the world’s first virtual trade show. Imaste is another example of this revolution.

    Admin, legal professionals and so on would be challenged by VOIPs (Google Hangout and Skype aren’t the only ones). These could be used for conferences, training, remote access of any device, etc. The VOIPs (video chats) could be done by many people at the same time around the world. Google Hangout has had it for free for a couple of years now while Skype has just recently joined the free version though again there are others within the VOIP area. It can also be used for watching movies/videos together around the world (idea generation and so on or even for fun with family and friends).

    Tesla is another example that’s into disruptive innovation. Elon Musk won’t get rich just due to Tesla cars or his other firms. He might become richer due to the Tesla batteries that’s challenging the $1 trillion electric utility sector of USA. And Tesla is into cooptition/coopetition/coopertition strategy with Toyota and others. Cooption strategy is where rivals work together and innovate and China does have that strategy where as Australia has only woken up to it. Few other examples of the coopetition strategy are Amazon & Netflix; Google, Samsung, Apple, MS, FB, etc.

    3D Printing some would have heard of but how many would have heard of 4D Printing? There are articles related to that – though the news about 4D Printing actually came about during the time when the 3D Printing news came out to the common man.

    And this goes on where each and every industry is getting shifted like has happened for centuries due to technologies and innovations.

    Thus, like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking mentioned a couple of weeks back; mankind isn’t just facing economic challenges around the world but also one from robots. Would humans be able to defeat the challenge or would robots and technologies win by 2045 as mentioned by Physicist Louis Del Monte?

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