The Guardian has an interesting article on a robot designed to pick raspberries – and potentially also other crops as well. This robot is able to about 25,000 berries a day, whereas a human picker can only do 15,000. It took about 700,000 Pound to develop this machine and it is expected it will come into production next year.
At Geek.com there is an interesting article about a robot developed by Japanese scientists that could replace construction workers. As pointed out in the article the main motivation behind this HRP-5P is to deal with the country’s aging and declining population.
There are several reasons why this kind of robots are of great importance for space settlements. Building space habitats, mining of resources and so on, will require a lot of work. Through the use of robots more labor will be available and this will allow for much faster space development – especially if such robots can be assembled in space, which will further reduce launch costs.
Also, according to another article on Geek.com, a long-term exposure to cosmic radiation could lead to digestive problems. Robots do not suffer from radiation the same way as humans do, hence they could start building free space habitats while science works to devise methods to protect humans against cosmic rays.
Around the world scientists are developing robots for agriculture.
This Australian robot is suitable for open field farming:
In regard with agriculture space settlements will have to deal with two issues. First of all, an independent food supply is essential for the success of any civilization. Secondly, during the early stages of the humanization of space there a shortage of labor will be quite likely. Since we cannot dispense with agriculture, at least not in the long run – as the alternative would be very expensive – space settlers will need to embrace agricultural robots full heartedly. Continue reading Agricultural robots
Researcher in Singapore have succeeded in building a robot, which are able to assemble an IKEA chair. Though the robots are still a bit slower than a human being, this kind of technology is interesting.
As many countries are facing an aging population, automation will be necessary to avoid a labor shortage. Also space settlements will benefit from this technology, as it will allow them to achieve economic independence by reducing the need to import manufactured goods.
The employee-less shop is one step closer. Recently Amazon announced to open a grocery shop without check out lines. Now researchers at MIT have developed a robot-picker, that me used to stock shelves. We only need to add some kind of system to detect empty shelves, to run a shop without any human involvement. Continue reading Shop automation
In The Guardian a good opinion piece:
Not automation per se is a threat to workers, but exploitation of workers is the important issue at stake.
One side note: the author laments the decreased membership of trade unions. However, in the long run only worker cooperatives could end the exploitation of workers. It’s quite pity that those who claim to stand up for worker rights continue to fail to support the cooperative movement.
We endorse the cooperative movement, though we usually discuss worker cooperatives as a mean to achieve self-employment and economic democracy. Consumer cooperatives have received very little attention at this site. Continue reading Consumer cooperatives and automation
Science fiction authors have explored the idea that one day robots will replace human labor. The general picture is that the employment rate will be low as only a few jobs remain that cannot be filled by robots. Continue reading The social economic problem of the future
This is the second part of our series on automation. In part 1 we discussed the social and economic consequences of automation. This post will discuss automation from a political perspective and will present a moral case for automation.