A recent report by the International Federation of Robotics looks at jobs. The report titled “Positive Impact of Industrial Robots on Employment” suggests that more than one million robotics jobs will be created world wide by 2016. Needless to say, these jobs will require the technical skills and training to be a roboticist. Where will these million new workers come from? And what will inspire the next generation of robot makers?
Tomorrow, Saturday April 7th, 2012 marks the beginning of the 3rd annual National Robotics Week. A week-long (well actually 9 days, but who is counting) national focus on Robotics, Robots, and education. This year the participation has grown to over 135 events across the country. At Gamma Two, we will be kicking off the week with a pre-party open lab. Tonight we will open our doors and let all interested people come in and meet the robots. The robots will be serving snacks and doing demonstrations, while people get to experience first hand our vision of the future – a world where people live better lives assisted by affordable, reliable, helpful robots.
What does this have to do with future roboticists? We encourage education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) because the robotics engineers of tomorrow are the students of today. We regularly have school groups, scout groups, and individual students stop by the lab for learning, demonstrations, and interviews. We encourage them to become infected with the robotics bug, because we will need to hire them when they finish school. And let’s face it, robotics is a complex discipline.
Sure you need the math and science, the mechanical and electrical engineering, industrial design and project management; as well as (my favorite) the computer science. But a true roboticist requires more. Our robots are designed to work with people everyday. We need an understanding of sociology, psychology, and cognitive science. Our robot brains are designed on living systems, so we need biology, and neuro-anatomy. And as our robots move into people’s homes, we need an understanding of architecture, design, and user experience modeling to make sure that the robot will work effectively for years to come. One of our first outreach actions was to the local arts community to bring in a “robo-esthetician” to design our robot’s skin and appearance. As the Cybernetic Brains become more complex we’ll need philosophers, ethicists, and will we need robo-psychologists as predicted by Isaac Asimov in his robot stories?
Where are your future roboticists going to come from? You need to start ‘growing’ them today. So check out the interactive map of events for National Robotics week, and take the family to a nearby event.
Where is your robot? Ours are being built right here in Colorado, at Gamma Two Robotics.