Here’s a new word for your innovations dictionary: ‘cobotics’
A neologism deriving from collaborative robotics, cobotics is designed to get the best out of both of the parties involved – the “cobots”, which carry out repetitive tasks requiring power, endurance and precision, and the humans who control them, using expertise, perception and sensitivity.
Whereas the concept of robotics sparks fear in the workplace because of the thought of machines replacing humans, cobots don’t do this.
Instead of replacing people, their role is to facilitate, and paradoxically, humanise, work tasks.
That said, they are still tools that people need to learn how to operate and some changes will need to be made.
Basically, it’s all about switching to and embracing this new technology rather than using it as a replacement.
But cobotics engineers will need to be particularly ingenious to make cobots usable by the everyday factory worker given that these condensed powerhouses of technology are pretty incomprehensible to the average person in the street.
And at IBM, it’s the robot itself that teaches people how to work with it – so rather than the person humanising the robot, it’s now the other way round!
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