What lead you to become an associate editor with Advanced Robotics, and could you briefly share what your day-to-day role as an editor entail?
I regularly attended international robotics conferences, which was the ideal platform for like-minded researchers and academics to exchange and share ideas in robotics science, technology, and applications. I’m fortunate to have met and interacted with world renowned top scientists and technologists in robotics, and as many of them volunteer their time to serve on editorial boards of journals and conferences, I too see the value in such means of information dissemination and building on existing knowledge to make new contributions.
Naturally, I was happy to be invited to be a member of the Advanced Robotics editorial board. As an editor, my tasks include managing the review of journal submissions and constantly looking out for new and emerging areas to encourage submissions.
It is known that with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots will continue to replace some of the jobs of humans. Are there any robots with a human touch today? How can they contribute positively to our society, especially in an aging one?
Yes, AI will provide a critical solution to break the barrier of applications of robotics to everyday life, outside factory environments (which are structured). The potential applications of robotics are limitless with AI-driven robotics providing solutions. While robots will not replace humans completely, they certainly can enhance our existence and make it more meaningful and satisfying. Robots can free us from the burden of laborious and hazardous tasks: dangerous, dirty, dull, and intellectually degrading tasks. I call these the “Ds” of robotics, and “driving” vehicles. Such tasks are best suited for robots, as humans are far too intelligent and valuable to engage in such endeavors.
However, human involvement is still needed for edge cases when handling and providing supervisory monitoring and control of robots. While robots have local autonomy, high-level decision making still needs to be done by humans. Additionally, another application very well suited for robots is when they can surpass human capabilities. For example, a robotics system driving a car remains perpetually alert: unaffected by fatigue or emotions, even when faced with obstacles.
Impactful applications abound especially in an ageing society, where robots can step in as caregivers, personal assistants, and companions (co-X, where “X” = worker, teacher, companion, assistant, etc.). Embracing AI would certainly pave the way for a brighter, more enriched future for us.