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Meet the AI-powered robots that Big Tech thinks can solve a global labor shortage

10.07.2024 02:46 AM
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Meet the AI-powered robots that Big Tech thinks can solve a global labor shortage
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AI-enabled robots are beginning to appear all over Silicon Valley. If some business analysts are correct, they may be able to address the global labor deficit.
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Meet the AI-powered robots that Big Tech thinks can solve a global labor shortage
Businesses like Nvidia, Microsoft, Tesla, and Amazon have invested billions of dollars in "humanoid" robots. These devices, which usually have two legs, are made to carry out activities that belong on human hands.
They are now being used in warehouses. However, supporters assert that the possibilities go far beyond fulfillment centers. In the future, these robots might collaborate with humans in homes and workplaces.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is one of the most prominent evangelists. With its Optimus robot, which Elon Musk claims is "going to revolutionize the world to a degree even higher than the cars," the manufacturer of electric vehicles is placing its bets.
Musk stated that Optimus will represent "a majority of Tesla's long-term value" and that it could push the business to a $25 trillion market cap during the first-quarter results call. Amazon is currently using its Digit robots in fulfillment centers and has supported Agility Robotics.
In the next 20 years, the market for humanoids is expected to grow to $38 billion, according to a Goldman Sachs research. Like smartphones or electric vehicles, the company believes these robots will become the next "must-have" gadget. Furthermore, according to Goldman, "humanoids would aid with elderly care and fill in for labor shortages in companies, but they would also be necessary for manufacturing and dangerous tasks."


AI boost


For many years, there have been robots that resemble humans. However, because of the latest developments in artificial intelligence, there is a renewed sense of confidence in the business. The same technology that powers ChatGPT from OpenAI is also allowing robots to understand commands and language and decide what to do.
The machines train in real-world circumstances using computer vision, just like humans do.
Henrik Christensen, a computer science and engineering professor at the University of California, San Diego, told CNBC that robotics is "where AI meets reality." "It creates some really fascinating new combinations that we could not have imagined even five years ago."
Another factor driving the current interest in humanoids is the worldwide labor shortage. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that there are about 8.5 million jobs in the United States alone. The gap is particularly significant in the manufacturing sector, where Goldman projects that there is a 500,000 labor deficit that will increase to 2 million workers by 2030. Robots, according to its supporters, are replacing dangerous and boring employment.


According to Jeff Cardenas, CEO and co-founder of robot firm Apptronik, "we are starting in what we term the dull, dirty, dangerous duties, these tasks where we have major labor shortages today, where we do not have people to do this work." International rivalry exists. As the world's largest installer of industrial robots, China overtook Japan in 2013 and currently holds a majority share of the global market, as per Stanford's AI Index Report. According to Tom Andersson, lead analyst at Styleintelligence, "the Chinese market is the greatest in the world." He also stated that Amazon is the only firm in the West creating anything remotely comparable to what China is producing. "Yet Chinese businesses are rapidly catching up." There are still obstacles. Giving robots full autonomy in manufacturing increases safety concerns and is associated with a high cost.
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