What it is: Robot density is a way to measure the number of robots compared to human workers.
It’s inevitable. Robots are cheaper than human labor in performing manual, repetitive tasks. Just as computers have slowly eliminated adding machines and typewriters, robots are eliminating entire job sectors. That means robots are going to affect society for better or worse just because robots are more cost effective in the long run.
To see the future of robots, look at South Korea. Their robot density is 631, which means 631 robots per 10,000 human workers. Europe’s robot density is 99 while America’s robot density is only 84. China’s robot density is 68.
That means if you want to see the future of robots, look at South Korea. By seeing how robots alter society in South Korea, you can better understand how robots might affect society in Europe, America, and the rest of Asia as well.
Yet robots are still in the mainframe era that computers passed so long ago. Back then, nobody could afford a computer until Altair introduced their simple computer kit that only a handful of tech-savvy users could build and use. Even then, these early computers weren’t that useful for most people. Only until Apple, Commodore, Atari, and Radio Shack introduced pre-built computers did the personal computer market start to take off.
So if robots are still in the days when only companies can afford them, when will robots filter their way down to the public? In other words, when will we be able to buy a personal robot that’s versatile enough to do a variety of tasks much like a personal computer could do a variety of tasks besides play games? Several companies have tried introducing robots to the public but those have generally been simple robots that couldn’t do much.
The era of personal robots (PRs like personal computers called PCs) is still a long way in the future. Voice activated assistants like Siri will likely be the best way to interact with a robot since few people want to use keyboards to control one. As Siri and other voice-assistants get better, that can help drive adoption of personal robots.
Right now, HomePod represents the first wave of hands-free user interfaces. With HomePod able to control a smart home, it’s only a matter of time before voice commands can start controlling personal robots. Think of what HomePod could do if it was mobile. Robotic vacuum cleaners are a start. Robotic personal assistants for the elderly are next along with security robots.
Watch South Korea to see how they embrace robots. That’s a glimpse of the future coming to the rest of us.