In the last century, mankind has made huge strides in technology. Many of the inventions had been predicted by sci-fi writers of the centuries before. To quote a few examples, Tanks had been predicted by H.G Wells, Submarines, and a Moon Landing by Jules Verne and so on. However, the author whose predictions have largely come true in the last few decades is Isaac Asimov who predicted gadgets that would prepare automates (microwaves etc.), make coffee (coffee maker), video calls (Skype, Google Hangouts etc.), robots that would perform manual tasks (multiple examples of this exist), wireless gadgets and even unmanned ships on Mars.
But the most interesting thing he predicted is about Robots and Automation, writing this in 1964: “The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will, therefore, have become largely a race of machine tenders.”
This indeed is true. Robots are doing so many repetitive, tedious activities that it’s difficult to imagine life without them. Though of course, these robots are not necessarily machines that we can see and feel but more often than not these are pieces of software code that take over a routine task and automate it, thus freeing up our time and letting the human agent in question do something more creative. So, here’s a look at some interesting areas where automation is set to change the game!
Advertising & Marketing: ‘Smart Ads’ is the latest buzz word. By using machine learning and automation, the whole aspect of advertising is shifting from an uncertain subjective process to a more predictable, deterministic one. The right analytics with Big Data will ensure that the ads target the right audience, industry and use the right kind of channel. AI and automation will help in figuring out the right message at the right time to the right person. Automation clinches the deal by helping marketers make real-time bids for ad space, figuring out the right places to display ads, displaying the ads to the right people and on the correct websites and so on.
Film industry: ‘Cinematic automation’ – Did you know that certain scenes of the movie Gravity were filmed by four industrial robots? Yes, it’s true! These robots moved the lights, props and even actors around the set as required with ultimate precision and timing. In fact, non-robotics experts like animators and designers can actually run these robots using software they are familiar with. Another example is in the field of screenwriting – to cater to the huge demand in scripts there are software applications which help aspiring writers get recognized by using a unique automated scoring system and algorithms for easy discovery, thus ensuring more transparency and opportunities for screenwriters.
Medical Science: Recently a robot completed a cochlear implant with the assistance of a human surgeon. Of course, completely automated robot surgeons aren’t there yet but it’s not far off. Smart algorithms that feed on existing medical history can provide expert advice and diagnose results with high accuracy. In the fields of oncology and radiology machine learning and automation is already being used extensively. With the advent of wearable devices that track bodily functions, the day is not too far when robots will be able to predict our health issues accurately and help cure them as well.
In the next part of the blog, I will focus on some other industries where automation is making a lot of difference and in the third, conclusive part I will explain how all these changes will affect us and what we can look forward to in the future.