Ars on your lunch break, part two: History, reality, and robots for the elderly

From Ars Technica

Enlarge / Robots are everywhere.

Today we present the second installment of my wide-ranging interview with the world-renowned roboticist and AI pioneer, Rodney Brooks. Part one ran yesterday—so if you missed it, click right here.

Today’s installment starts with the new robotic era that dawned when Brooks’ latest company—Rethink Robotics—launched its Baxter robot. Baxter and its successor, Sawyer, shifted the industry in both obvious and subtle ways, which we discuss. We then consider the ancient legacy equipment and standards that still plague so much factory automation. Next, we dive into society’s urgent need for robots to assist with elder care in the coming years. This capability is currently remote, though many are starting work on it.

One of the most entertaining and provocative sections of the interview follows, when we get into self-driving cars. Brooks finds most of the industry’s launch forecasts and timelines…

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