The rise of robotics: what is the public’s view?
Thanks to the development of AI and IoT technologies, the use of robots in manufacturing and industry has risen considerably between 2016 and 2017. In fact, the worldwide shipment of robots rose from 294,000 to 387,000 in that time - a large increase for a relatively short time period.
The success of robots in industrial settings has subsequently led to businesses and researchers investigating the potential use of robots in our everyday lives too. The hope for this tech is that it will lead to greater automation in our lives, but how do people feel about this rise of robotics?
What can robots do?
The answer to this questions rests on the current level of the technology. As developments are made and automation is improved, robots will be able to perform a huge variety of tasks, from domestic chores and manual jobs to even performing minor surgical procedures.
As this type of technology is still in its infancy, at the moment robots are mostly being used in an industrial setting, particularly for manufacturing processes. Many businesses, however, are exploring the usefulness of robots in various other capacities, including Amazon, Adidas, Best Buy and Lowes.
With technology constantly developing, this increased capability of robots has divided opinion amongst members of the public. While many businesses are convinced that robots represent the future of industry, do members of the public share this belief?
RS Components undertook a study of nearly 2000 respondents to see how the public feels about robots. The results show a mixed attitude towards this technological development. Only 34% of those surveyed felt that robots would make everyday life better, with 32% having the opposite viewpoint.
Much of the negative opinions towards robots was rooted in a fear of job losses, with 22% of respondents noting this concern. There was also a real sense of distrust towards robots amongst many of those surveyed, with 54% stating they would trust a human over a robot, while only 14% felt the opposite was true.
According to the survey, women were more concerned by robotics than men, with 34% of female respondents worried about the influence of robots, while only 29% of men felt the same way. Only 32% of women felt that robots would benefit their lives, compared to a far greater 46% of male respondents.
In terms of age, it’s perhaps not surprising that the younger respondents displayed higher levels of trust towards robots, with the older participants far more fearful of the negative potential of robots.
With such a divide in opinion amongst those that took the survey, there were very few tasks that a large number of respondents agreed they’d let a robot perform. Household chores received the largest share of the vote, with 40% of respondents happy to use robots in this capacity.
While many researchers and businesses are sure about the potential of robots, there is a much less clear picture amongst the general public, many of whom remain unconvinced about the rise of robotics.