04 May The Robotic Revolution: From Fiction to Reality
When I was little, I watched the movie From Russia with Love. I never thought that the gadgets that James Bond had would integrate themselves into our current culture. The pager and the car phone have done so, however. Yet, James Bond is not the only robotics which have gone from fiction to reality. Long before Skype was ever imagined Captain Kirk and John Luc Picard were having video telecommunication conferences with Aliens and Klingons. This raises a question. Has robotics evolved from fiction to reality or has our reality shaped fiction? I would argue that fiction has sparked innovation in reality rather than the later. Here are a few examples supporting this idea.
The super small robotics system
Granted we have not reached the level of being able to control individual’s thoughts and actions through robotics as some films. Neither has the reality of sci-fi movies such as Ballistic or Mission Impossible II nano-medical and viral technology been implemented into society. However, the robotics of super tiny computers into fabrics for tracking and marketing analytics has come to fruition. Smart Clothing is already available to help adapt to our body and our personal styles. The computers can monitor and report on physical attributes such as blood pressure and pulse rate. In the medical field, robotics are being used for non-evasive surgery procedures. And while these two robotics are not controlling the person’s actions or thoughts, they are very much reporting on the human response and are “invading” the person’s body.
Smart automotive technology
Who would have thought that the interactivity between Knight Rider and his vehicle would start to be a reality? In 1982 KITT was considered a futuristic vehicle outside of the realm of reality. The interactions between the two characters is what made the show worth watching. In today’s world, it is not interesting. Why? Because we have voice activated controls, simulated GPS voice navigational systems, and the ability to connect with real people who can be heard through the speaker system of the vehicle. The integration of artificial intelligent systems such as the hands free driving and parking have all but transformed Ford’s original design into a Transformer. Who knows, perhaps in the next 10 years we will see a version of Optimus Prime on the market.
Otherworld presented the reality/virtual reality merger and the issues that can arise from robotic uses within virtual reality. At the same time there are films which have shown that robotics can help in the preservation of life and in the quality of life which has led to the advancement in prosthetics and AI robotic appendages for amputees. There are hundreds of devices which have found their way into the real world market after being introduced in science fiction films, books, and television such as:
Google Glass – Vision Optics and information presented on a wearable headband
The smartphone – Ziggy From Quantum Leap as well as the hand device on Star Trek preceded apple in this.
Artificial Intelligence Robot – Take your pick of movies as there are a ton. Then look at ChihiraAico or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And where the movements are a bit jerky and the lip syncing is a bit off, it is clear to see that the older films Ai has become a reality. What is a bit interesting is to see how the new innovations are leaning more to the reality of ex-machina and A.I. than that of prior movies such as I-Robot. Let us just hope that the outcome is a bit different.
The business perspective of this
If you are a business and want to implement robotics into your products or in the manufacturing of the products you produce, by all means do so. You will find that it has become rather hard not to. Architects are using Augmented Reality to present buildings to clients with virtual reality robotics to allow them to be inside the environments, Hotels have started to use robots to cater room service to clients. Households have started to implement robots for certain house chores. Security has implemented the use of smarter technology scooters, manufacturing plants continue to switch productions to robotics and machinery which can create the product for a fraction of the cost, and restaurants are using robotics in food preparation. The point is that wherever you look there is robotics implemented into businesses whether you are looking to use micro computers in fabrics, smart devices in an automobile, or just something simple like a robotic wheel balancing machine for an automotive shop.
So what does this all mean
Before we discredit the film industry for producing films which are way outside of the realm of the possible, it would do the viewer well to calculate the use of the technology within the world. Keep in mind, engineers and innovators go to the movies as well. Ideas are sparked in many ways. It is my personal belief that a great many robotics which do not have the technology available make it into film to help usher in the technology needed to produce it. For example Star Wars used holographic imaging as well as Star Wars. From these technologies and these 3D images which were planted into the fictional realm the 3D movies, Augmented Realities, Virtual Realities, and simulated environments came.
Do you want to see where the technology trends are going to shift? Watch the movies with the newest technology and the highest viewer base to find out. And while businesses should embrace the technology as it develops, we should not neglect the human factor. It is the human factor, after all, that came up with the idea to begin with.