Archives for robots

Maurice Conti

The TED talk of the month comes from designer, futurist and innovator Maurice Conti. At TEDxPortland he showed how robots and humans will work side-by-side to accomplish things neither could do alone.

About this speaker
Maurice Conti is the Director of Applied Research & Innovation at Autodesk. He also leads Autodesk’s Applied Research Lab, which he built from the ground up. His team’s research focuses on advanced robotics, applied machine learning, the Internet of Things and climate change/sea level rise.

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Heather Knight

The TED talk of the month comes from Heather Knight, the assistant Director of Robotics at Humanity+. At TEDWomen 2010 she introduced us to -a joke telling- Marilyn Monrobot.

About the speaker
Heather Knight is conducting her doctoral research at the intersection of robotics and entertainment at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. Her installations have been featured at the Smithsonian-Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, LACMA, SIGGRAPH, PopTech and the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy.

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We <3 Robots?

The debate on robots and society has predominantly focused on their presumed talent to destroy rather than create value. Here’s two articles to balance the debate, two positive views on robots entering the workforce.

1. Amazon and its hybrid work-force
Let’s look at how the world’s largest online retailer is using robots in its fulfillment centers. By doing so Amazon has been able to drive down shipping costs and pass those savings on to customers. Cheaper shipping made more people use Amazon, and the company hired more workers to meet this increased demand. Tasks involving fine motor skills, judgment or unpredictability are handled by people. They stock warehouse shelves with items that come off delivery trucks.

In 2016 the company grew its robot workforce by 50 percent, from 30,000 to 45,000. Far from laying off 15,000 people, though, Amazon increased human employment by around 50 percent in the same period of time. Even better, the company’s Q4 2016 earnings report included the announcement that it plans to create more than 100,000 new full-time, full-benefit jobs in the US over the next 18 months. Read More

> Read full We <3 Robots? post


David Autor

Every other Tuesday our team sits together to watch a TED Talk. Today we listened to professor David Autor. In this video, recorded at TEDxCambridge in September 2016, he addresses the question of why there are still so many jobs and comes up with a surprising, hopeful answer.

About this speaker

David Autor is one of the leading labor economists in the world and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is Professor of Economics and associate department head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics. His best known research formally models and empirically analyzes how computerization substitutes for and complements human labor; asks how the rapid rise of import competition from China has reshaped U.S. manufacturing, upending the conventional economic wisdom that free trade is a free lunch; explores how the economic pressures of globalization are reshaping U.S. electoral politics; and conducts large-scale randomized experiments that test whether generous financial aid grants improve the odds of college completion and long-run economic security of students from low income families.

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