A robot is a mechanical device that, without human assistance, is mobile and can manipulate its surroundings to effectively perform some function of work. There are many benefits to allowing robots to perform human tasks, especially tasks that most people would not want to undertake. What a robot looks like may really not fit in with the outdated perspectives created by experience with television-star robots. While the robots that are currently in use are not able to perform complex, multiple tasks, they can successfully complete a few simple ones and are useful to humans in industrial settings and in the home.
The benefit of robots, while currently expensive and often limited in function, will someday be able to complete tasks that most people would find uncomfortable, impossible or simply dangerous. For example, robots may be able to fit into spaces too small for a human to perform needed repairs. Other areas in which robots are presently used are in the areas of transportation, industry, art, music, construction, and even the military, etc. Furthermore, robots hold captive the imaginations of children who first see them on television, in storybooks, or in toy stores. This captivation provides great motivation for learning math, reading, physics and science skills when students study and practice robot creation and operation. Since they have multitudes of purposes, the children can connect with them in their own area of interest.
Robots are also coming to be used for tasks that people find simply unpleasant. For example, “The Roomba, a simple, disc-shaped $200 robot vacuum that moves in an ever-widening spiral, has sold four times more than all the home robots that preceded it…” . Vacuuming is just the start. A “flood” of new household robots are expected in the near future. These robots will spill over into the business industry. Robots can be couriers for businesses and weave through office buildings.
Society stands to gain bountifully from selective and ethical integration of the use of robots into all arenas of life. However, even with man-made, mechanical robots, ethical questions will present problems as those robots become highly advanced, especially regarding artificial intelligence. Legislation may be called to intervene on behalf of “robots’ rights,” and on legal and illegal uses of robots, and regarding patents for robot designs and functions. Other problems that may arise from use of robots are isolation, the loss of the “human touch,” the losses of human sensory interaction and feedback, and the potential for robot-based errors. Problems or not, there are some things that robots just never will be able to really do for us. However, if cautiously integrated into our lifestyles, they offer much more potential for the benefit of society, than for detriment.