Robots and Society


In the next few sections, I want to talk about some of the big challenges that confront all of us as a society, as a people. The root cause of the challenges that confront us are essentially the world population growth. 

This graph here shows three different scenarios.  The so-called medium growth model, which has the population of the planet topping out at 8.9 billion by the year 2050.  The low growth model, which sees population actually starting to decline after about the year 2035, and the rather scary high growth model, which sees 10.6 billion people on the planet by the year 2050. 

It's going to take a few years before we can work out which of these particular lines we are on.  The consequences of more people on the planet are many.  For a start, we are going to need more food.  There are more mouths to be fed on the planet.  We are going to need more resources.  Each person requires resources such as energy to manufacture items that they need, whether that's housing or other sorts of goods. 

We need materials like metals and petroleum resources and we need water - water for drinking and also water for washing and water for manufacturing all of the items that these people require. 

And finally, there is going to need a whole lot more transportation.  We have more people on the planet; more people wanting to go from point A to point B.  All these resources need to be transported from where they are produced to where they are going to be used.  So, an increased amount of transportation for people and the resources that the people require.


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Robots don’t exist in isolation from human society; we create them to help us. What are the big challenges that society faces?

Professor Peter Corke

Professor of Robotic Vision at QUT and Director of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (ACRV). Peter is also a Fellow of the IEEE, a senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and on the editorial board of several robotics research journals.

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