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The Toss of Human-Robot Relation: Friendship or Enmity?
<p>The Toss of Human-Robot Relation: Friendship or Enmity?</p>
The Toss of Human-Robot Relation: Friendship or Enmity?

Friends or Foes: Decoding the Role of Robots in Society

One fine day, as a part of the robotics classes for kids, the children of a school were taken to a robotics laboratory on a field trip. Fascinated by the automated machines around them, every child was in awe of the fast-paced advancing field of Robotics. Among these was one named Joe, who raised a critical question and sparked an interesting conversation that followed their exit. 

On the trip, while two scientists, William and Patrick, showed the laboratory around to these children, he asked them, “Are robots our friends or foes?” Both scientists, favoring either of the perspectives, gave a brief, almost satisfactory answer to the child at that moment but it became the topic of a long discussion between the two, following their departure. 

Scientist 1 - William: “Robots are our Friends!”

When the children left, one of the scientists said, ‘I strongly think that robots are and will always be our friends!’ His colleague, Patrick, seemed to accept this thought but also had some clashing opinions. In the pursuit of convincing the role of robots as friends, William stated a few strong points before the other.

“Firstly”, he said, “robots can increase productivity at large! Imagine that you work for more than 12-15 hours constantly! Will you be able to work on the 16th hour the same way? No,

 right! But a robot can. Robotic automation can do repeated jobs more effectively than humans because they are built to perform the same without getting tired or taking a break. Thus, be it manufacturing or any other market sector, we can boost productivity with the help of robots!”

“Secondly, they can work in hazardous environments.” He continued, “Think about the fields like fire engineering, nuclear testing, or hazardous waste management - these are highly risky jobs that are performed by humans. Once trained and programmed, robots can take up a majority of these tasks, reducing the risk of human life. Won’t it be much better that way?”

Patrick was listening attentively and trying to reason the points being mentioned.

“Thirdly, they are much more accurate and precise than you and me! When a doctor makes incisions while performing surgery or when microelectronic parts are being manufactured, robots can surpass the human’s level of accuracy. Measuring fractions of millimeters while manufacturing processes or making smaller incisions during surgery, robots can improve the accuracy and precision of these critical tasks quite easily.

And lastly, he stated that “robots can help in increasing the number of happier employees!” Now this caught his colleague's attention. “How is it possible?”, he asked. To this, the latter replied, “Do you like doing monotony jobs or like exploring newer aspects in your field of interest? Of course exploring, right? That is where robots can help. They can take over menial work, repetitive motion, or dangerous jobs, making employees more likely to be happy. They might want to take advantage of additional educational opportunities or participate in an innovative workplace project. They’ll be happy to let the robots do the work that leaves them feeling burned out.”

Scientist 2- Patrick: “Robots are our Foes!”

Once William finished speaking, he was waiting for Patrick to respond. Deep in thought, Patrick was trying to accept all that William spoke but had some apprehensions in mind that could make robots their foes in the future. It was his turn to speak now.

“ I consider all that you’ve said, but what about the extremely high investment costs? I agree robotics and automation can increase productivity and accuracy levels but the costs of installation, upkeep, additional components, and programming are very significant. Also, the continual power supply required for robotic automation comes at an additional cost. These costs are a significant factor to be considered before the use of robots as they may drain an organization.”

“Secondly, even if they can work in hazardous environments, they lack analytical ability. During times, when situations go out of control, unlike programmed robots, only humans are capable of applying their presence of mind and dealing with it. God Forbid, if any such situation arises, it can become all the more dangerous!”

William, besides his belief, was trying to comprehend all that Patrick was saying. Though he might have had a storm of questions in his head, he decided to let him complete. 

“Also, you have a car, right? How often have you walked down to places after owning a car? Seldom right? Once robots pitch in, there will be an over-dependence on technology. It may ease out a few tasks, but with fewer contacts and motions, this can be harmful for the human living, don’t you think so?”

“And lastly, though the introduction of robots will change the job landscape, it will also lead to the loss of a significant number of jobs. If robots are used extensively across all sectors, people might continue losing jobs as robots replace people in labor-intensive jobs.”There was a moment of shared silence between the two for a while. 

 Are robots our friends or foes?

The silence gave way to a more structured answer to Joe’s questions - It is both. Robots can serve as friends as well as foes. Robots can increase productivity but probably at high costs. Robots can work in hazardous environments but not with a unique presence of mind. 

In summary - after weighing the perspectives of William and Patrick, whether robots will become friends or foes depends completely upon us. The way we use them, employ them for tasks, and yearn to gain certain outputs from them will decide their role in all our lives.

The very next day, both these colleagues contacted the school authorities and arranged for an interactive session with the children. After all, only through the knowledge of robotics for kids can children foresee and prepare themselves for the times to come. They wanted to contribute to this journey of theirs and one question from a young boy led them to do so!

OBotz regularly does what these two scientists did that day! A leading coding and robotics program, OBotz, offers STEM camps and coding and robotics classes for kids. Our programs encourage children to think logically and systematically while widening their STEM knowledge base. Through these programs, they learn to develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking through a practical hands-on approach, gaining a better understanding of STEM. Book a free trial class now and empower your child with STEM skills!