Despite all the negative consequences of the global pandemic, it has opened new markets for the robotics industry. Firms that deal in robotics are supplying robots to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. These robots supply basic items to people in isolation and detect people who are not wearing masks. Among the firms that plan to use the pandemic as an opportunity for growth is Hanson Robotics which is based in Hong Kong.
This company specialises in engineering humanoid robots and has promised to increase their production towards the end of this year. The head of Hanson Robotics, David Hanson, has proposed humanoid robots as a quicker avenue for businesses to recover from the pandemic. He was quoted in saying, “The world of COVID-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe.” He believes that Hanson robots can replace humans and perform tasks such as check- ins at airports without getting infected by the virus.
Hanson robotics’ success story in the field of Artificial Intelligence started with the creation of Sophia the robot in 2016. Sophia became the first non-human United Nations ambassador and a citizen of Saudi Arabia. She has continued to acquire more social skills over the years.
What does the creation of such robots mean for humans? What does this say about the value we attach to humans? Maybe from the perspective of Hanson robotics, humanoids can have the same rights as humans because they can be trained to carry out most of the tasks humans perform. But how about the thousands of people who have lost their jobs because of the global pandemic? Is it morally right to hand over their jobs to robots?
As we advance in the field of Artificial Intelligence, it is important not to lose our empathy for fellow humans. We should be able to understand the struggles of fellow humans. The constant need for profits should not make us forget that we were all moulded from Adam’s rib or rather evolved from apes in the words of evolution scientists. Given our similar beginnings, it is important that we treat humans with regard and utmost respect.