Hard on the heals of robots getting “bullied” …
As Forbes notes, it is more an evolution of robotics within the auto industry. Big clunky first generation industrial robots are being replaced by smaller more agile machines which can work more safely and efficiently alongside human workers. A couple of years ago Toyota also started changing how people and robots work in their assembly plants, putting greater emphasis on human craftsmanship in some areas.
I noted this collaborative robot trend several years ago, and it is now hitting the factory floor. People are better, at the moment, doing a broader range and more delicate tasks.
As the International Federation of Robotics points out there is still a steady stream of robots entering industrial service.
This video about robotics in a BMW factory (ignoring the PR) illustrates how production lines are now operating.
And here is a nice demonstration of an even more “collaborative” industrial robot under development
This evolving relationship is likely to accelerate as systems improving the ability of robots to learn improves.
Robots that attempt to read your emotions, and respond appropriately seem just creepy at the moment. But that too will change. At the same time we too will evolve in how we think, feel about, and interact with them.