The days of human beings sweeping floors, guarding plants, and doing other mundane or hazardous tasks could someday become a thing of the past. Service robots are increasingly being called on to perform these tasks, according to a new study from industry intelligence organization The Robot Report .
According to the report, service robots generated $11 billion in sales in 2008, trailing industrial robots whose sales reached $19 billion. But service robots have a brighter future, the report noted, because the largest group of industrial robot users – car makers – will not return to high purchase volumes as in the past. Robot makers will increasingly seek to deploy their machines in public buildings, oceans, space, cow barns, and fields.
There have been a number of reports on robots being developed to clean rooms, help perform surgical tasks, explore the ocean floor, and search hazardous areas for objects or materials. I can certainly welcome these developments from the standpoint of freeing humans from performing risky or unwelcome tasks. But that begs the question of how far robots will go in replacing humans in the workplace and other aspects of daily life.
We recently posed that question to our readers in our INSIDER Question of the Week . More than a third of our respondents thought robots would replace humans in day-to-day tasks. What do you think? Feel free to give your thoughts.